Top 10 Sources of Sodium in Food
It's not just about the salt shaker. Sodium is in foods you eat everyday—here are the biggest offenders.
Find out which foods contribute the most sodium to your diet and learn to be more sodium savvy.
These 10 foods dish up 40 percent of Americans’ sodium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Don’t banish them altogether, just shop smart and compare brands for the lowest sodium option.
Bread itself isn’t exceptionally high in sodium. A slice contains anywhere from 50 to 230 milligrams. But collectively we eat so much of it that the milligrams add up.
Not only is salt added for flavor, but so are sodium-laden preservatives, such as sodium nitrate, to lock in moisture and improve color.
The trifecta of dough, cheese and tomato sauce make this American favorite a top source of sodium. And that’s before salty toppings like pepperoni or sausage.
Whether homemade, store-bought or packaged, it’s what’s added to the chicken dishes that makes them sodium-heavy. Plus, some raw chicken is "enhanced" with sodium solution for extra flavor and moisture. To avoid that, check the ingredient list.
A single serving of canned soup can deliver upward of half your daily sodium limit. Made with salty broths, your favorite restaurant’s soup might not be a whole lot better than canned versions.
Sandwiches and Burgers
When you combine bread with cold cuts and cheese or top a big bun with seasoned ground beef, ketchup, mustard and a pickle, sodium milligrams add up quickly.
Salt isn’t just added to cheese for flavor. It’s also a preservative that helps extend shelf life. How salty cheese is depends on the type. Most Swiss cheeses, for instance, are naturally low in salt and are a good choice.
Pasta alone is practically sodium-free. It’s the sauce that’s the culprit. Skip salting your cooking water too.
Meat Dishes Like Meatloaf or Chili
Beef itself contains a little sodium, but the way we most often prepare it adds considerably more (think: seasoned breadcrumbs in meatloaf and canned tomatoes and canned beans in chili).
Snack Foods Like Pretzels, Chips & Popcorn
In addition to their salty exterior, some, like pretzels and crackers, have salt added to their dough.