Foods That Are Surprisingly High In Salt from Foods That Are Surprisingly High In Salt

Foods That Are Surprisingly High In Salt

The latest Dietary Guidelines recommend that the average healthy American consumes fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

But, according to the CDC, most people actually eat foods that add the salt up to 3,400 mg every day.

You may be avoiding cheese, pretzels, cold cuts and other salty foods that are wrecking your diet because they are the most obvious source of sodium.

But what about bread, cereal and even hot chocolate? They certainly don’t taste briny but the amount of salt they contain per serving may shock you.



A medium size pain bagel has 470 mg of sodium. Even a 100% Whole Wheat bagel has 565 mg. “Depending on what you’re putting on them, you can consume almost a whole day’s worth of salt in one meal,” Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says. “I usually ask people to at least have an English muffin [bagel] or a bialy,” she adds. A cinnamon raisin bagel has 287 mg of sodium.

Salad Dressings


Everybody adds dressings because they make a boring salad with green leaves taste so much better, Malkoff says, but you should ask for the sauces to be on a side, if you are at a restaurant, and use it “conservatively.” Just one tablespoon of Italian dressing has 243 mg of sodium; Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing has 280 mg. Ranch is a little better with 122 mg of salt in one tablespoon. The salad can be unhealthy for several other reaosons.



It’s easy and convenient to get a pre-made pasta sauces from the store but they are not your friend. Just one cup of the marinara pasta sauce has 1,202 mg of salt. White sauce is not that much better – 832 mg. Many people’s favorite sauce, Alfredo, has 1,264 mg in a single cup. Use lemon juice and salt-free herbs and spices, such as garlic and pepper, to flavor your food, according to the CDC.

Frozen Dinners


Some frozen dinners are delicious but all of them have more sodium than you should consume in a single meal, especially for dinner. Some have as much as 1,800 mg. The extra salt will cause the body to retain water, leaving you bloated, at the very least. “It’s always better to eat fruits and vegetables with no salt,” Malkoff says.



A bowl of cereal with skimmed milk for breakfast has about 200-250 mg of sodium per serving which us usually ¾ of a cup or 32 grams. “Serving size is a big deal,” Malkoff says, “because no one east just one.” The milligrams of salt add up quickly this way. Some cereals have too much sugar too. 

Anything Canned


Canned foods always have salt in them that has been added for preservation, Malkoff says. Even half a cup of canned green beans has 290 mg of salt. One cup of canned chicken soup has 1,571 mg. To put things in perspective: One cup of canned carrots has 353 mg of sodium. One cup of sliced fresh carrots has 88 mg.

Cottage Cheese


Cottage cheese is another hidden source of salt,” Malkoff says. One serving, which us usually one cup, not the whole container, has 911 mg of salt. This is about 40 percent of your daily allowance. Opt for plain Greek yogurt instead. You’ll get as much protein but only 150 mg of sodium in one cup.  

Baked goods


“There is always some salt in baked goods to balance the sweetness,” Malkoff says. Just one ounce of oatmeal cookie dough contains 93 mg. A single peanut butter cookie has 140 mg. One medium glazed donut has 181 mg…It only gets worse. Baked goods are a problem not really because they have a lot of salt but because they are eaten so often.

Hot Chocolate


One envelope of Classics Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix has 150 mg. One cup of Hot Chocolate K-Cup contains 200 mg. This is 8 percent of the recommended daily value. People need a chocolate fix every once in a while but don’t make sure you how much salt you’re actually consuming with this sweet drink.

Packaged Sandwiches


These are bad for several reasons. They contain about 400 calories, about half of them from fat. Many are stuffed with mayo or processed cheese, two big sources of sodium. Research has found that many sandwiches sold by supermarkets and coffee chains have unhealthy levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar, and there is no link between quality and price, according to The Guardian.



Bread adds a lot of sodium to your daily allowance because you eat more than one serving. But sometimes, one slice of bread can contain anywhere from 80 to 230 mg of sodium, Malkoff says. One slice of white bread has 170 mg. A slice of Italian bread contains 117 mg. A multi grain whole grain bread has 135 mg of salt in just one slice.

Chicken Breasts


Chicken breasts may be better than dark meat but the high-sodium flavors with which they are injected to enhance the taste undermine their reputation. Carefully read the labels. Look for “non-enhanced.” Sodium levels vary based on preparation methods. Half of a small cooked chicken breast contains 330 mg of salt.



This popular condiment is ruining your daily intake of sodium. Just one spoon contains 167 mg but for many people one spoon is enough for just one a few fries. Ketchup also has a lot of sugar – 3.42 grams in a single small serving.



You have bread, cheese and sauce – a high-sodium bomb, Malkoff says. A regular cheese pizza has 462 mg. Depending on the toppings, you may end up consuming the recommended daily value of salt in just one slice. Limit the cheese and add more vegetables as toppings when possible.



Popcorn, a fulfilling food that can help you lose weight, is a problem if you choose the buttered kind in movie theatres. Eleven grams of oil-popped popcorn has 116 mg of sodium. This is equivalent to 0.3 oz. How much popcorn do you really eat when you watch a movie?