CDC study points to high salt content of packaged and processed food

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a warning over the salt content in packaged and processed food, saying that food producers were knowingly and dangerously ignoring the long-standing salt content guidelines.

The new report from the agency suggested worrisome proportion of packaged foods were in breach of federal guidelines and contained high concentrations of salt, which was not always revealed to the buyer with sufficient prominence. Public health authorities had been pushing for lower levels of salt for decades due to the fact that it was linked with high blood pressure and a wide variety of other health complications.

The CDC was trying to determine whether a person's geographical location could be linked to the probability of his developing high blood pressure. Also, the agency was interested in finding out whether the salt content varied in accordance with the area in which the products were produced and sold.

Though the results did not provide such links, the study did confirm that excessive levels of salt were being used in the manufacturing of packaged foods across all regions included in the study.

The research team looked at 10 different types of prepackaged foods for variety, and over 3,800 food products. Linda Scheib, an epidemiologist at the centre's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention led the team.

She said the team looked at bread, cold cuts, pizza, poultry, soup, sandwiches, cheese, pasta-mixed dishes, meat-mixed dishes and savoury snacks.

It would be surprising to many people that bread was actually a high offender as regards salt content and as a matter of fact, most of the sodium people ingested actually came from bread.

The study found that lot of foods that people did not think tasted salty actually had a lot of sodium in them. The researchers recommend that people read the nutrition labels, make comparisons, try to choose lower sodium options, be sure to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and cook more at home as that way they had more control over the amount of sodium.