Study: Americans eat twice as much sodium as we should

Study: Americans eat twice as much sodium as we should

Tipped-over Salt Shaker --- Image by � Tom Grill/Corbis

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by Erica Heartquist

KTVB

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

It's in bread, cheese, lunch-meat, soft drinks.

The list goes on.

We're talking about salt.

New numbers from the American Heart Association show most people are eating way too much of it.

Many people we talked to in downtown Portland, Wednesday were aware of how much salt is in their diet and said even they know it's bad for them, the taste was worth it.

"I'm getting Thai food," said Cameron Ough of Portland.

"Probably a brunch box burger," said Portland resident, Reno Brown.

At the food carts along Fifth Avenue in downtown Portland Wednesday, food was on everyone's mind. Sodium? Maybe not.

"I have no idea what they're putting in it," said Don Thomson of Milwaukie, OR. Thomson works downtown.

We asked Reno Brown if he was going to ask the chef making his food to hold the salt. "I'm not. I'm definitely not. It tastes good and I'm out here eating out and it's a treat," he said.

The American Heart Association released numbers Wednesday that showed Americans are eating twice as much sodium as we should be.

"Most Americans will think, 'Well, I just won't put salt on my food and therefore the problems gone.' But, it's really the processed food and that's why it's so important to read food labels," said Dr. James Beckerman, M.D. a cardiologist at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

On average, Americans eat about 3400 milligrams of sodium a day. They should be getting 1500 milligrams maximum.

"Statistically about 80 percent of the salt that you take in is from processed food, it's not from your salt shaker," said Dr. Beckerman.

"I even put it in my coffee, it's true," said David Stephen Ball-Romney, visiting from Seattle, "It brings out a little bit of the flavor," he added.

But, not everyone is pouring on the salt.

Pastini restaurant in downtown Portland already offers gluten-free pasta options.

Now, Kitchen Manager Lowell Cantillo said more and more people are asking for "light salt" or "salt-free" dishes.

"We make it basically from scratch to order, so whatever the customer wants we'll be happy to do it that way," said Cantillo.

Doctors said that's a smart way to order your food while thinking about what you're eating, "We really don't need to be eating it out of the bag as we do so," admitted Ball-Romney.

The Heart Association said to focus on what they called the "salty six:" bread, lunch meat, pizza, poultry, soups and sandwiches.

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