Where\'s the Salt? Top 10 Salt-Containing Foods

Health authorities tell us we eat too much salt – on average twice as much as we need. Just 10 types of food contain almost half the salt we’re consuming. What are they?

We eat about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. According to Health Canada, this is more than double the amount we need—between 1,000 and 1,500 mg per day. Where does all this salt come from?

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the sources of dietary sodium consumption (in the US) by food categories. The study shows that the top 10-ranked food categories contributed 44 percent of the salt consumption.

Most of the sodium was in foods bought at stores (supermarkets, convenience stores, or other stores), but 25 percent came from restaurants where the food tended to have more sodium per calorie compared to the store-bought food.

The top 10

  1. bread and rolls
  2. cold cuts/cured meats
  3. pizza
  4. poultry
  5. soups
  6. sandwiches such as cheeseburgers
  7. cheese
  8. pasta mixed dishes such as spaghetti with meat sauce
  9. meat mixed dishes such as meatloaf with tomato sauce
  10. savoury snacks such as chips and pretzels

Skipping the salt

  • Choose fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
  • Choose lower-sodium versions of prepared frozen foods.
  • Season foods with fresh or dried herbs and spices, lemon juice, fresh garlic, or flavoured vinegars.
  • Look for lower-sodium versions of condiments.
  • Cook with naturally sodium-free oil or with salt-free butter.
  • Cut back on instant foods such as noodles and cereals.
  • Check the ingredients list for hidden sources of sodium.
  • Rinse canned foods, such as beans or tuna, under the tap for at least 60 seconds, which can remove up to 80 percent of sodium.
  • Ask fast-food outlets about the sodium content in their foods.


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