Americans consume too much sodium, both from added salt and high sodium levels in packaged and restaurant food.
High sodium consumption raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke — among the nation's leading causes of death.
MYTH: The benefits of sodium reduction haven't been proved.
A large body of strong scientific evidence shows that greater sodium intake causes higher blood pressure, and that reducing sodium intake lowers blood pressure.
MYTH: I can just limit my use of salt at home.
Restaurant food and processed food in stores have so much sodium already added that added salt at home makes up only a small part of overall sodium intake. Three-quarters of the sodium we consume has been put into our food before we buy it.
MYTH: There are more important dietary changes to make than sodium reduction.
Sodium needs attention because excess intake increases blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major public health problem for millions of Americans.
MYTH: Lowering my sodium won't have much effect on my blood pressure.
Even moderate changes in sodium intake can have significant benefits. A 10 percent reduction in sodium consumption could prevent 480,000 U.S. heart attacks and 500,000 strokes.
MYTH: Food with less salt wouldn't taste good.
A person's taste for salt – the major source of sodium – can change. Americans' current appetite for salt likely comes from excess salt in the food supply. Gradually reducing sodium in food will allow individual tastes to adjust.
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