Finding the hidden salt in your food

February 12, 2013 3:31:51 PM PST
New evidence tonight that cutting back on salt can do wonders for your health.

New research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension shows if we cut salt intake to the recommended level, which is about a teaspoon a day, it could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths.

But it is not easy as getting rid of the salt shaker, because sodium is hidden in tons of processed foods.

Right now, the average American eats 36-hundred milligrams of salt a day. The study looked at getting that down to 22-hundred milligrams, the recommended amount.

If Americans could hit that level, doctors say it would lower the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

So this means you should start reading labels if you aren't already.

Here are some examples of sodium levels you may not expect:

Margarine on your toast: 90 milligrams.

Two tablespoons of salad dressing: 290 milligrams.

If you go for a burger & fries, you expect salt on the fries, but ketchup adds another 160 milligrams.

And if you have an instant pudding as a snack, that 1/2 cup of pudding will add 360 milligrams.

The total: at least 900 milligrams, not counting the fries.

Some companies are reducing the amount of sodium in their foods.

But it's always good to read the label and make decisions based on your own health risks.

If you are over 51 years of age, try to get your salt intake to 15-hundred milligrams.