HEALTH

CDC: Bread beats out chips as biggest salt source

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ATLANTA (AP) - Bread and rolls are the No. 1 source of salt in the American diet, accounting for more than twice as much sodium as salty junk food like potato chips.

That surprising finding comes in a government report released Tuesday that includes a list of the top 10 sources of sodium.

Salty snacks actually came in at the bottom of the list compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn - which we think of as the saltiest foods in our diet - are only No. 10," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Breads and rolls aren't really saltier than many of the other foods, but people tend to eat a lot of them, said Mary Cogswell, a CDC senior scientist who co-authored the report.

Salt is the main source of sodium for most people, and sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

Health officials say most Americans get too much salt, mostly from processed and restaurant foods - not added from the salt shaker.

Experts have known that the sodium in breads and certain other foods can add up, but even CDC officials were amazed that just 10 foods are responsible for 44 percent of the sodium consumed.

"It's possible to eat a whole bunch of sodium without it seeming salty," noted John Hayes, an assistant professor of food science at Penn State, who was not involved in the report.

According to the CDC, breads and rolls account for about 7 percent of the salt that the average American eats in a day.

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