Americans still eat way too much salt, and much of it comes from dietary staples such as bread, poultry, cheese and pasta.
Ten types of foods account for 44 percent of salt consumption, the CDC researchers said. These include bread and rolls; deli meats and cured meats; pizza; fresh and processed poultry; soups; cheeseburgers and other sandwiches; cheese; pasta dishes such as spaghetti with meat sauce; meat dishes such as meat loaf with tomato sauce; and salty snacks, such as pretzels, chips and popcorn.
Too much salt, the major source of dietary sodium, can raise blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the United States and are largely dependent on the high rate of high blood pressure, and one of the things that's driving our blood pressure up is that most adults in this country eat or drink about twice the amount of sodium recommended.
Reducing sodium across the food supply can increase consumer choice, is feasible, it can save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in health care costs each year. Because some of these foods, such as bread, are eaten several times a day, salt consumption adds up, even though an individual serving is not high in sodium.
The best way to reduce your salt intake, the researchers said, is to eat more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce and limit processed foods.
It's important to learn which foods are high in sodium and figure them into your day, and to check food labels when shopping. Also, limit cold cuts and processed meats.