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Survey: Americans still confused about salt

Posted On Thu, April 28, 2011

While more and more health organizations are alerting the American public to the dangers of high sodium consumption, a new survey appears to indicate that people are still not getting the message.

According to a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, a significant percentage of respondents made some incorrect assumptions about where people primarily get their salt consumption from and whether certain types are healthier than others.

For instance, when asked about whether sea salt was a low-sodium alternative to traditional table salt, 61 percent incorrectly said yes. In reality, both sources have approximately the same levels of sodium.

Respondents were also wrong in their belief that table salt represented the brunt of sodium consumption for the average person, with 46 percent saying as such. AHA says that, in fact, processed foods contains approximately 75 percent of the sodium the typical American consumes daily.

AHA recommends consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day, which measures out to be no more than a teaspoon.

While health officials often link high salt consumption to hypertension, it's a primary contributor to heart disease as well. AHA reports that health insurance costs for heart disease treatment totals $475 billion annually.

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