4 sneaky sodium bombs

Registered dietician reveals foods that may contain more salt than you think


Do you eat too much salt? chances are you do.   According to the Centers for Disease Control 9 in 10 americans consume too much sodium. Excess sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Sodium is found in foods we eat every day, and sometimes in places you wouldn't expect. Cleveland Clinic Dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick says how you start your day could impact your daily salt intake.

"Breakfast cereals tend to have a little bit more sodium than you would think. On average the most popular breakfast cereals on the market contain anywhere between 200-300 milligrams of sodium for a 1 cup serving," she said.

Some foods may seem healthy but actually have high levels of sodium.   Certain dairy products fall into this category and there are a couple, in particular, you should watch out for.

"The big culprits with dairy products are going to be cottage cheese or super, super processed cheese like an American cheese. Those will have the most sodium between 400-800 milligrams, you know, depending on if you're going to have a cup or so of cottage cheese, which is not difficult to do, you can get almost 900 milligrams of sodium," explained Kirkpatrick.

Beware of processed sauces too because they tend to be high in sodium - including spaghetti sauce - depending on your portion size.

"It's actually not really awful for really one serving but most of us are not measuring out a quarter cup or a half a cup of spaghetti sauce on top of our pasta. On average we'll probably have about a cup. So, if we are following that trend then we will consume about 1000 milligrams of sodium just for our spaghetti sauce," Kirkpatrick said.

So how much sodium is too much?  According to the National Institutes of Health, healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. Adults with high blood pressure should have no more than 1,500 mg per day.  And those with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease may need much lower amounts than 1,500 mg per day.

The NIH says the specific amount of sodium intake recommended for infants, children, and adolescents is not clear but adds that eating habits and attitudes about food formed during childhood are likely to influence eating habits for life. For this reason, it is a good idea to avoid eating too much salt. Read ways to reduce salt and sodium in your diet.