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"Salty six" foods a major source of sodium, says American Heart Association

Beware of the "salty six," warns the American Heart Association (AHA).

The "salty" six consist of common foods in Americans' diets that are packed with excess sodium, the AHA says, and the list of top culprits doesn't even include snack foods like chips.

"Excess sodium in our diets has less to do with what we're adding to our food and more to do with what's already in the food," Dr. Linda Van Horn, a research nutritionist at Northwestern University who volunteers at the AHA, said in a press release. "The average individual is getting more than double the amount of sodium that they need, but there are ways to improve their sodium intake under their control."

Sodium overkill: Top 10 culprits in U.S. diet
Sodium overkill: Top 10 culprits in U.S. diet

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend people should take in no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, while the AHA recommends an even lower amount, 1,500 milligrams. A recent survey from the association however found most Americans are averaging 3,400 milligrams each day, mostly from processed and restaurant foods.

That could potentially raise blood pressure, thus increasing risk for stroke and heart disease, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What six common foods are major sources of salt in our diets? Keep clicking to find out the "salty six."

Breads and rolls

Irish Brown Bread

Bread can be deceiving because it doesn't taste salty, says the AHA, but one piece may have as much as 230 milligrams of sodium -- about 15 percent of the daily recommended amount. That could add up for those who eat multiple sandwiches throughout the day. And that doesn't even include what's in the sandwich, like the next item on this list....

Cold cuts and cured meats

Deli or pre-packaged turkey can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams of sodium, according to AHA. Salt is also added to most cooked meats to prevent spoiling.


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One of the six biggest sodium culprits in Americans' diets, not surprisingly, is pizza. While some might worry more about the fat and calories found in a slice, also found are 760 miligrams of sodium. That means with two slices, you're over your daily recommended intake.


This meat staple in the American diet may contain wide ranges of sodium depending on how its processed and prepared. Even reasonable amounts of lean, skinless and grilled chicken may still contain an added sodium solution, the AHA warns. Breaded chicken nuggets also provide a prime opportunity for sodium count to add up: Only 3 ounces of frozen, breaded nuggets may contain 600 milligrams of sodium.


kid, eating, soup, stock, 4x3

As temperatures drop and sniffles increase, many find comfort in a big bowl of soup. The AHA however says to make sure you look at the nutrition label first, since soup can be loaded in sodium.

A cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 milligrams of sodium the AHA says, and soups often contain more than one serving size.


The "salty six" already includes bread and cured meats so it's no surprise that other sandwiches, from burgers to subs can potentially be loaded with sodium.

The AHA says when you add condiments into the picture, such as ketchup and mustard, a meat sandwich can easily surpass 1,500 milligrams of sodium in one sitting.

The American Heart Association has more information on ways to reduce salt intake.

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