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Restaurant, processed foods account for large portion of sodium intake: study

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Minneapolis – People consume most of their dietary sodium through commercially processed and restaurant foods, meaning “telling patients to lay off the salt shaker isn’t enough,” according to researchers at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Lisa Harnack and her team recruited 450 people from various cities to participate in a one-year study. Participants maintained 24-hour records of food intake and reported the results in four daily phone interviews. They also provided samples that matched the amount of salt they added to their food at home.

The researchers found that, over a four-day period, participants got 70.9 percent of their dietary sodium intake from commercially processed foods and restaurant food. Participants ingested a daily average of 3,501 milligrams of sodium – 52.2 percent more than the maximum 2,300 recommended in American Heart Association guidelines.

“If you’re aiming to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of less than 2,300 milligrams per day, you’ll need to choose foods wisely when grocery shopping and dining out,” Harnack said.

As part of its #BreakUpWithSalt initiative, AHA is urging food companies and restaurants to reduce sodium in their offerings.

The research was published in the May edition of the journal Circulation.

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