Bread’s the Biggest Culprit in US Salt Intake

A new report out from the CDC says that breads and rolls are the number one source of salt in the US diet.

These findings are surprising because they indicate that it’s the amount of breads and rolls we eat – and not necessarily the sodium content per serving – that is pushing US salt intake over recommended intake levels.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. People aged 51 and over, African Americans and those with hypertension, diabetes or chronic disease should limit salt intake even further, to 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

It is estimated that 90% of Americans eat more salt than they should each day and the CDC report finds that just 10 foods are responsible for 44% of the sodium intake in the US. Breads and rolls make up 7% of the salt we eat.

The top ten contributors of salt in our diet are:

  • Breads & rolls
  • Cold cuts & cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Pasta dishes
  • Meat dishes
  • Snacks

Cutting back on breads and rolls – especially those made from refined wheat flours (i.e. white flour with brown food coloring and a few micronutrients thrown back in) can not only help reduce calories and promote weight loss, but we now know they may also be a vital link in lowering our excessive sodium intake levels too.

Watch out for 100% whole wheat bread though – while it might be better for you from a whole grain and fiber standpoint, sodium can rack up here too. Look for 100% whole wheat breads that are lower in sodium, keeping in mind that salt is an essential component of the bread-baking process.