Salt Kills 3.5x More People Per Year Than Vehicle Accidents

Dec 02, 2007 by Visual Recipes | Filed in Food News | 2 Comments

According to health experts, a high salt diet contributes to 150,000 deaths each year in the United States. For comparison, according to a the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42,642 people died in 2006 from vehicle accidents.

High amounts of salt raise blood pressure and in turn increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.

The American Heart Association has set the maximum daily salt consumption at 2,300 milligrams, about a teaspoon of salt. Americans are consuming 2-3 times this amount.

Health experts are urging The Food and Drug Administration to tighten salt restrictions in packaged foods and to beef up packaging labels.  The American Medical Association wants the FDA to cut the allowable amount of salt in foods by half.

A major problem is that foods you don’t associate with having salt usually contain high amounts.  Just a few cups of your favorite cereal each morning can account for around 50% of your daily allotment.

Example: 6” Subway Club with American Cheese, Mayo and a bag of baked chips: 1,720 mg sodium, roughly 75% of your daily allowance, in 1 meal alone.

Record how much salt you consume for a day and post it as a comment.  If you don’t live in the USA, please state what country you live in.

References: ABC News StoryNHTSA | Subway Nutrition Info

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Dec 03, 2007

I went searching and searching and apparantly Red Robin does not post its nutrition information anywhere.

Breakfast - 1 cup frosted mini wheats with 3/4 cup 1% milk was 113 mg sodium.

Lunch - 1/2 bbq chicken wrap and salad at Red Robin (other half came home for tomorrow’s lunch).

Dinner - quarter rotisserie chicken, skillet potatoes, frozen (nuked) green beans with a pinch of salt. For a whopping 2102 mg sodium (wow).

That put me at 2212 mg plus the lunch at Red Robin (who by refusing to give information make me think they must be pretty high). 

I consider that to be a pretty normal and healthy dinner - but wow, I had no idea how much sodium was involved.

Jim H

Jan 27, 2008

I would find it nearly impossible to measure accurately (or I’m just not willing to put in the work to measure everything that goes into my mouth all day, like food purchased off the lunch truck, items that I don’t have ready numbers on like lunch meats and cheeses in my refrigerator, or food that I cook myself and add salt to).  Anyway, I’m willing to stipulate that my intake is probably well over the recommended daily limit.

But the part of the original post that I take note of is the “and in turn”.  It seems like high blood pressure is the real killer.  I have read that the causes of hypertension are not well understood, and are different in different people, and also that some peoples’ high blood pressure respond dramatically to changes in salt intake, while others don’t at all.  In my case, my blood pressure seems to be well in control, so I don’t really feel an urgent need to restrict my salt intake right now.

Am I right here?  Salt, by itself, isn’t proven to damage one’s health.  But if you’re a person whose blood pressure is sensitive to your salt intake, then you need to watch it.

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