By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of kids are eating too much salt and 7 out of 10 snacks have too much of it!
Is all salt bad? Nope! Salt is a must-have mineral made up of sodium and chloride, which our bodies use to carry out important processes related to nerve function, fluid balance, and digestion. However, just like other essential nutrients, we should only consume it in moderation. In fact, the recommended daily limit of salt should be no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg).
If you consume too little salt, you’ll suffer from symptoms like stomach pain, muscle cramps, confusion, headaches, grogginess, and even comas in severe cases. Consume too much salt, and you can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. According to the CDC, kids that are 6-18 years old are eating upwards of 3,300 mg a day, which is 1,000 mg more than the maximum!
See, salt is often used to add flavor to food, and it’s especially heavy in macaroni and cheese, dried fruit snacks, and yogurt treats. The CDC points out that 65% of salt intake comes from food items purchased in stores. Over 40% is from favorites like pizzas, cheeseburgers, cold cuts, cured meat sandwiches, pasta with sauce, chicken nuggets, patties, tacos, burritos, bread, and soup.
“Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.” One study even examined over 1,000 products, including packaged foods like hot dogs, crackers, and breakfast cereal. They found that 70% of toddler dinners have way too much salt, contributing to the fact that almost 1 in 4 kids are overweight.
Featured image courtesy of Michael Bentley on Flickr.