You probably know that sodium is common in many pre-packaged foods, but how much do you really know about where else to find it and the impact it has on your health? Take this quiz to find out!
(Questions and facts courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide to sodium.)
Question #1: True or False: Most of the salt we eat is added to our foods from the salt shaker, either during cooking or during a meal.
Find the answer on the next page!
Only a small portion is added during cooking or at the table, while the rest occurs naturally in foods. About 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes from processed and restaurant foods.
Question #2: True or False: A muffin can have more salt than a bag of potato chips.
As a matter of fact, a muffin can contain more salt than a bag of potato chips. Salt content in the foods we eat varies greatly, even within the same food type. Check the amount of salt in your foods, and choose the ones with lower salt.
Question #3: True or False: The words “salt” and “sodium” do not mean exactly the same thing.
The words “salt” and “sodium” are not exactly the same, yet these words are often used interchangeably. For example, the Nutrition Facts panel uses “sodium,” whereas the front of the package may advertise “low salt.” (A major component of salt is made up of sodium and chloride.)
Question #4: True or False: Foods can have high salt content without tasting salty.
Salt is hidden in foods that you might not expect, including salad dressings, cheeses, pasta sauces, breads, tomato juices, and condiments.
Question #5: When you lower your salt intake, your blood pressure can drop in a matter of:
Answer: B. Weeks
Blood pressure can respond to lower sodium intake within weeks.
Question #6: Canned vegetables, such as green beans, corn, and tomatoes, have _____ salt per serving than fresh or frozen vegetables.
B. The same amount of
Answer: C. More
Canned vegetables have more salt than freshly prepared or frozen vegetables unless you choose foods with “no salt added.”
Question #7: True or False: People who have high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
People who have high blood pressure, African Americans, people older than age 40, and people with chronic kidney disease or diabetes are all population groups that should consume no more than 1,500 mg/day of sodium. Altogether, this represents about 70 percent of American adults.
Question #8: True or False: Everyone should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that the general population (excluding populations mentioned in the previous question) should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, or about 1 teaspoon of table salt.
Question #9: True or False: Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can reduce your blood pressure.
Reducing salt intake improves blood pressure and can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke – even for people who have normal blood pressure.
Question #10: You can lower your salt intake by:
A. Following the daily recommended sodium limits
B. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned ones
C. Asking for low-salt foods when eating at restaurants
D. Comparing food labels during shopping and choosing foods lower in salt
Answer: All of the Above: A, B, C, and D
There are many things you can do to lower your salt intake – know your daily recommended sodium limits, choose fresh fruits and vegetables, read food labels and purchase foods that are low in salt, and ask for foods with no or low salt at restaurants.
Learn more at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention!