12 Foods with Way Too Much Salt

  • Go Easy, Saltaholic

    Lots of Americans have learned to count calories, but how many of us pay close attention to the sodium content in different foods? The answer, according to the U.S. government, is not enough. Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to set legal limits on the amount of salt that can be in different products. As of now, the FDA has not set specific salt limits, but according to The Washington Post, the FDA is preparing to “analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products” and will work to “gradually ratchet down sodium consumption.” Until then, there are plenty of foods that consumers should only eat in moderation or avoid all together because the salt content is too high. Here’s our list of 12 particularly salty items and a few tips for better eating habits. Photo Credit: Waldo Jaquith
    The 2300 Club
  • The 2300 Club

    The most immediate impact of having too much salt in your diet may is that it can cause high blood pressure, but it can also lead to more serious conditions like heart and kidney disease. The magic number to remember is 2,300. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most people are advised not to consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (which is about one teaspoon of salt). However, many Americans may actually need to stick to an even lower number than that. As the FDA notes, Americans who already have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney problems, or who are “middle-age or older” should keep their daily salt intake to less than 1,500 milligrams. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that two out of three adults in the U.S. fit into this category. Yet, according to a CDC study from last year, the average American consumed 3,436 milligrams of sodium per day. In other words, we are not even close to being healthy. The FDA recommends a few tips to reduce the amount of salt you consume, like relying on other spices when preparing meals and eating more foods that are rich in potassium because it can help keep your blood pressure in check. Also, be sure to stay away from the foods on the list. Photo Credit: TooFarNorth
    The Double Down
  • The Double Down

    If there was ever any doubt that KFC’s newest creation is bad for your health, just look at the sodium content. The Double Down sandwich (no bread, just two big slabs of chicken with bacon and cheese in between) has 1,380 milligrams of sodium when fried and 1,430 milligrams when grilled (odd, wouldn’t you say, that the grilled version has more salt than the fried). That’s 60% and 62% of your maximum daily salt intake, respectively. No matter what, do not get seconds on that. Photo Credit: Kfc.com
    Burger King Chicken Sandwich
  • Burger King Chicken Sandwich

    Now, we don’t want to come off as biased toward one fast food chain or another, so just as a point of comparison, consider this item from the Burger King menu. According to their own Web site, the Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich Value Meal (which comes with fries and a coke) contains 2,180 milligrams of sodium, which is 95% of the maximum daily sodium intake. And that’s the small size. If you get one with large fries and a soda, the sodium content jumps to 2,480 milligrams of sodium, or 107% of your maximum daily intake. Photo Credit: rick
    The Admiral's Feast
  • The Admiral's Feast

    When it comes to salt, Red Lobster is king. They might as well just throw you in a room with a salt shaker and spoon. One dish on their menu in particular has become a symbol for reckless saltiness. The Admiral’s Feast, an assortment of fried fishes, contains an incredible 4,400 milligrams of sodium. That’s nearly two times the amount you should consume in a day (191%). Photo Credit: Bitman
    Olive Garden
  • Olive Garden

    If you’ve never looked at Olive Garden’s nutrition page, you really should. The question at this restaurant is really what doesn’t contain too much salt. A dinner portion of their Spaghetti & Italian Sausage contains 3,090 milligrams of sodium (134% of max daily total) and their Chicken Parmigiana contains 3,380 milligrams (147% of max daily total). But the real pièce de résistance is their Tour of Italy dish, a nice mix of lasagna, fettuccine alfredo and chicken parmigiana. It contains 3,830 milligrams of sodium. Photo Credit: Special*Dark
    Denny's Moons Over My Hammy
  • Denny's Moons Over My Hammy

    Now, I know what you’re thinking: No one goes to Denny’s to eat healthy. But even by those standards, some of Denny’s dishes are pretty shocking. One of their dishes, a ham, egg and cheese sandwich called Moons Over My Hammy reportedly contains 2,580 milligrams of sodium, or 112% of your daily total. In fact, the restaurant chain was actually sued last year by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for excessive saltiness. Photo Credit: Dennys.com
    Miso Soup
  • Miso Soup

    You don’t have to set foot in a fast food restaurant or diner to be at risk of eating too much salt. According to the USDA, one cup of Miso soup contains 2,563 milligrams of sodium on average, or 111% of the suggested daily total. Photo Credit: Geoff Peters 604
    Deli Meats
  • Deli Meats

    Packaged deli meats can be almost as salty as the dishes you find at the restaurants above. According to WebMD, just two slices of packaged beef or pork could contain as much as 600 milligrams of sodium, or about 26% of your suggested daily intake. Keep that in mind before you start piling the meats on when packing lunch for work. Photo Credit: matthewf01
    Hot Dogs
  • Hot Dogs

    Hot dogs can vary from place to place, but the average fast food hot dog contains about 670 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA. Nathan’s Famous Beef Hot Dog contains 692 milligrams (30% of your daily total) and their beef chili dog has 1,000 milligrams (43%). Hot dogs are even worse when you add in sauerkraut, which contains 1,588 milligrams of sodium per can. Photo Credit: larryjh1234
    Creamed Corn
  • Creamed Corn

    WebMD also points out the surprising fact that a single cup of creamed corn can contain 730 milligrams of sodium, or 32% of your daily total.  That may not sound like too much, but keep in mind that most people only eat corn as a side dish, so be careful what you pair this with or you may quickly shoot above that 2,300 number. Photo Credit: Robert Banh
    Pancakes
  • Pancakes

    According to the USDA, two pancakes with butter and syrup have an average sodium content of 1,104 milligrams, or 48% of your daily total. And since I usually eat four or five pancakes in a meal, I’m pretty sure I am in trouble. Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography
    Mac and Cheese
  • Mac and Cheese

    If you’re a mac and cheese enthusiast, you may not want to read this one. According to the USDA, a typical “canned entrée” of mac and cheese contains 1,106 milligrams of sodium, or 48% of your daily total. This really shouldn’t be too surprising though since cheese tends to have a lot of salt. According to Kraft’s Web site, two slices of American cheese contain 640 milligrams of sodium, and other sites put that amount even higher. Photo Credit: eiratansey
    Milk
  • Milk

    No, a glass of milk won’t kill you, but a few of them might. Like many dairy and meat products, milk naturally has sodium in it from mother nature, even before it’s processed. According to the Mayo Clinic, a single cup of low-fat milk contains 107 milligrams of sodium (5%), and other milks may have even more than that. So don’t overdo it. Photo Credit: Mycael
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