Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Salt, Intake

  • Kelly DoranEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_141-2

Keywords

Mayo Clinic American Heart Association Sodium Intake Sodium Nitrite National Library 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Synonyms

Definition

Salt is a dietary element made up of sodium and chlorine (U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2011a).

Description

A majority (90 %) of sodium consumed comes from salt (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2011). The body needs a small amount of sodium for fluid regulation, nerve impulse transmission, and muscle function. The kidneys are responsible for retaining sodium (if body stores are low) or excreting sodium through urine (if body stores are too high). However, if the kidneys do not excrete enough sodium, the excess sodium will accumulate in the blood. This can lead to high blood pressure, from an increase in fluid volume in the arteries, ultimately putting additional stress on the heart (Mayo Clinic 2011a; U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2011a).

Recommendations

For children ages 1–3, 4–8, and 9–13, the recommended daily sodium intake is ≤1,500 mg, ≤1,900 mg, and ≤2,200 mg, respectively. Those ages 14 and older are recommended to consume ≤2,300 mg a day (U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2015). However, the American Heart Association recommends the general public to reduce their sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day (American Heart Association Presidential Advisory 2011). In addition, those with certain diseases (e.g., cirrhosis and congestive heart failure) may be recommended lower sodium intake levels by their primary care providers (U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2011b).

A half of a teaspoon of salt is approximately 1,200 mg of sodium, and one teaspoon of salt is approximately 2,300 mg of sodium (American Heart Association 2011). More than 85 % of Americans consume 2,300 mg of sodium or more a day; the average intake of sodium for Americans over 2 years of age is 3,400 mg per day (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2011; U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S.Department of Health and Human Services 2010). Diets high in sodium have been associated with an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke (American Heart Association 2011). Generally, when salt intake is reduced, it only takes a few weeks for blood pressure to decrease (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2011).

Identifying Sources of Sodium

Most foods naturally contain sodium (U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2011b); however, this form of sodium only accounts for about 12 % of daily sodium intake. An additional 11 % of sodium intake comes from cooking at home and adding salt while eating. A majority (77 %) of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed foods, foods bought at stores, packaged foods, and foods cooked at restaurants (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2010). Sodium is added to foods to act as a preservative, cure meat, retain moisture, and enhance color and flavor (American Heart Association 2011; U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010). When food and beverages were grouped in 96 categories, the top six categories that contributed the most sodium to Americans’ diets included yeast breads, chicken and chicken mixed dishes, pizza, pasta and pasta dishes, cold cuts, and condiments (National Cancer Institute 2010).

Reading food labels is important for determining sodium intake because milligrams of sodium in food can vary even for the same type of food. For instance, a slice of frozen pizza can range from 450 to 1,200 mg of sodium (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2011). However, caution should be used reading the %DV (daily value) on the food label because the percentage is based on 2,400 mg, which is 100 or 900 mg higher than the recommended daily sodium intake depending on recommended group (U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2015; U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2011; American Heart Association Presidential Advisory 2011). Food packaging messages can be confusing (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 2011). For example, a package message titled unsalted or no salt added simply means no salt was added while processing the food; yet, reading the label is important because some of the ingredients may contain sodium (Mayo Clinic 2011b). Additionally, looking at the ingredients list can help determine if sodium was added. Sodium is sometimes called different names; some examples include baking soda, monosodium glutamate, and sodium nitrite (U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2011b; Mayo Clinic 2011b).

Methods for Reducing Sodium

Some methods for reducing the amount of sodium consumed can include (Mayo Clinic 2011b; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute n.d.; National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health 2010; U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010; American Heart Association 2011):
  • Following specific heart-healthy diets (e.g., dietary approaches to stop hypertension, which is also called the DASH diet)

  • Eating fresh foods

  • Using food labels to purchase items low in sodium

  • Ordering lower sodium items when eating out

  • Using healthy salt substitutes to replace salt

Cross-References

References and Further Readings

  1. American Heart Association. (2011). Sodium (salt or sodium chloride). Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sodium-Salt-or-Sodium-Chloride_UCM_303290_Article.jsp
  2. American Heart Association Presidential Advisory. (2011). Population-wide reduction in salt consumption recommended. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.newsroom.heart.org/index.php?s=43%26item=1237
  3. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2010). Sodium and food sources. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/salt/food.htm
  4. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2011). Sodium fact sheet. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_sodium.htm
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2011a). Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284
  6. Mayo Clinic. (2011b). Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now (continued). Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284/NSECTIONGROUP=2
  7. National Cancer Institute. (2010). Sources of sodium among the US population, 2005–06. Risk factor monitoring and methods branch website. Applied Research Program. Retrieved 22 Mar 2012, from http://riskfactor.cancer.gov/diet/foodsources/sodium/
  8. National Library of Medicine, & National Institutes of Health. (2010). Tasty stand-ins for salt. NIH Medline Plus, 5, 15.Google Scholar
  9. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (2003). Your guide to lowering high blood pressure: Healthy eating. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/h_eating/h_eating.htm
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, & U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2010). Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf
  11. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, & U.S.Department of Agriculture. (2015–2020). Dietary guidelines for Americans (8th ed.). Dec 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
  12. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2011). How to understand and use the nutrition facts label. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/consumerinformation/ucm078889.htm
  13. U.S. National Library of Medicine, & National Institutes of Health (2011a). Dietary sodium. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietarysodium.html
  14. U.S. National Library of Medicine, & National Institutes of Health (2011b). Sodium in diet. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002415.htm

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandBaltimore School of NursingBaltimoreUSA