For people with congestive heart failure, a hot dog can trigger a trip to the hospital due to excessive salt

The average daily salt intake in America is one and 1/2 teaspoon a day. This is 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, or 1,100 milligrams more then the recommended maximum.

For people with congestive heart failure, a salty hot dog can trigger a trip to the hospital.

The experts say the new target for sodium intake should be set at 1,500 milligrams daily.

In a previous study, reducing dietary salt by 3 gm per day (1200 mg of sodium per day) was projected to reduce the annual number of new cases of coronary heart disease by 60,000 to 120,000, stroke by 32,000 to 66,000, and myocardial infarction by 54,000 to 99,000 and to reduce the annual number of deaths from any cause by 44,000 to 92,000. Such an intervention would be more cost-effective than using medications to lower blood pressure in all persons with hypertension.

77% of the salt in the American diet comes from processed food. Only 6% is shaken out at the table, and only 5% is sprinkled during cooking.

Once people cut back on salt -- whether or not they know they are doing it -- they begin to prefer less salt in their food. This happens in a matter of weeks.

For example, alarmed by high death rates from strokes, Portugal plans to decrease salt in bread, blamed for high blood pressure. Portugal has one of the highest mortality rates from strokes in Europe - double that in Spain and 3 times that in France. http://is.gd/ndNv

The daily salt intake in Portugal is a staggering 12.3 grams (ranging from 5.2 to 24.8 gm) http://is.gd/ndQq

References:
Americans Need Help Shaking The Salt Habit - Shots - NPR Health News Blog.
"Food is risky. You can choke on a hot dog, be poisoned by a pizza or die slowly from years of eating too much" - The Economist, 2014 http://buff.ly/1k0lKBY

Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

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