How Americans get most of the sodium in their diet may surprise you.
Salty snacks? Last on the top 10 list of foods that pack a sodium punch beyond the salt shaker.
Cold cuts? A close second.
Bread - yes bread - gave Americans the most sodium in their diets, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey released Tuesday.
Regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, bread and rolls contributed to 7.4 percent of the sodium in an average diet, according to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Next in line, cold cuts, gave 5.1 percent of the daily sodium intake in the American diet.
The average American consumed 3,266 mg of sodium per day, 42 percent more than the 2,300 mg per day recommended, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The survey included 7,227 volunteers who recalled their diets across two separate 24-hour periods in 2007-08.
The report came the same day CDC officials said that 90 percent of U.S. adults get too much sodium every day.
Too much sodium raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said in a statement. These diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated $273 billion in health care costs.
The bread industry said it wasn't being soft-as-Wonder-Bread in their efforts to reduce sodium.
Sodium has been on the radar of the American Bakers Association, a trade organization that lobbies for the industry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a hearing in September called Approaches to Reducing Sodium Consumption. The ABA claimed that the hearing was not fair since the trade organization was not invited into the discussion.
There has been noteworthy reduction in sodium in enriched white bread over the past 47 years, Lee Sanders, senior vice president of ABA wrote to FDA officials in a letter dated Jan. 27.
The letter further states that between 1963 to 2007, sodium in enriched white bread dropped from 254 mg per slice to 180 mg per slice. At 2007 levels, the average American could reach their sodium threshold of 2,300 mg in 13 slices of bread.
Approximately 44 percent of sodium consumption came from foods in the following 10 categories:
1. Bread and rolls (7.4 percent)
2. Cold cuts/cured meats (5.1 percent)
3. Pizza (4.9 percent)
4. Fresh and processed poultry (4.5 percent)
5. Soups (4.3 percent)
6. Sandwiches like cheeseburgers (4.0 percent)
7. Cheese (3.8 percent)
8. Pasta mixed dishes (e.g., spaghetti with meat sauce) (3.3 percent)
9. Meat mixed dishes (e.g., meat loaf with tomato sauce) (3.2 percent)
10. Savory snacks (e.g., chips and pretzels) (3.1 percent)