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Unveiling the Salty Six: Sneaky Sodium Sources Hiding in Your Diet

Table salt spilled out
Photo by Canva

In the quest for healthier eating, many of us focus on reducing calories, cutting out sugar, or increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables. However, there's one sneaky culprit that often flies under the radar: sodium. Most Americans consume more sodium than the recommended daily intake, which is less than 2,300mg. Excessive sodium intake is linked to various health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. To shed light on this often-overlooked aspect of nutrition, let's explore the "Salty Six" – common foods that are surprisingly high in sodium.


The Salty Six

Let’s get into it! The American Heart Association says that there are 6 popular food items that are high in sodium and that you need to avoid:


1. Bread and Baked Goods:

While bread and baked goods may not taste salty, they can be significant sources of sodium in your diet. This often stems from the use of baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the baking process. Additionally, certain types of bread, such as bagels and pretzels, tend to be higher in sodium. Reading labels and opting for whole grain varieties can help you make smarter choices.


2. Pizza:

Who doesn't love a piping hot slice of pizza? Unfortunately, indulging in this favorite comfort food can also mean consuming a hefty dose of sodium. From the cheese and sauce to the cured meats and dough, all the components of pizza can contribute to its sodium content. Enjoying pizza in moderation and opting for toppings like veggies instead of processed meats can help keep sodium levels in check.


3. Sandwiches and Burgers:

Sandwiches and burgers are classic go-to options for a quick and satisfying meal, but they can also harbor hidden sodium. From the bread and condiments to the fillings and toppings, the sodium content of these handheld delights can add up quickly. Choosing whole grain bread, lean proteins, and fresh vegetables can help balance out the sodium content of your sandwich or burger.


4. Processed and Cured Meats:

The allure of processed meats like bacon, sausage, and deli meats is undeniable. However, these savory delights are often loaded with sodium. Whether it's from the curing process or added during preparation, processed meats can significantly contribute to your daily sodium intake. Opting for leaner cuts or lower-sodium alternatives can help mitigate this risk.


5. Canned Soups and Broths:

Convenience is a major selling point of canned soups and broths, but convenience comes at a cost – namely, high sodium content. Many commercially available soups and broths contain staggering amounts of sodium to enhance flavor and preserve freshness. Choosing low-sodium or homemade versions allows you to enjoy the comfort of soup without the sodium overload.


6. Burritos and Tacos:

There’s no denying that burritos and tacos are a household favorite. However, taco toppings and burrito fillings hold a ton of sodium. When picking your toppings or fillings for your next meal, try using less cheese and more vegetables.


Tips to Reduce Sodium Intake

The CDC provides tips on how to reduce your sodium intake. Here are just a few from the list:

  • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables with no salt or sauce added.

  • Choose packaged foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added” when available.

  • When buying prepared meals, look for those with less than 600 milligrams (mg) of sodium per meal, which is the upper limit set by the Food and Drug Administration for a meal or main dish to be labeled “healthy.”

  • Check the number of servings per container.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

  • When eating out, split a meal with a friend or family member.

  • Order vegetables with no salt added or fruit as a side item.


Tria Health Can Help!

Tria Health is a free and confidential benefit available through your health plan. If you have a chronic condition or take multiple medications, Tria Health’s pharmacists are ready to support you in managing your health.

Pharmacists at Tria Health ensure that your medications work as intended and that you are on the right medications. They can also support you by creating a care plan specific to your needs and contacting your physician. Talk to a Tria pharmacist over the phone and receive the personalized care you deserve.


Contact the Tria Health Desk at 1.888.799.8742.



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