Processed foods don't get much good press, but there is some hopeful news in the salt-reduction effort. According to New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has been behind a number of healthy food initiatives in his 11 years as the city's chief executive, 21 major companies have met voluntary targets for reducing salt in their products.
This is a big deal, public health officials say, because excessive salt increases your risk of high blood pressure, which makes you more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. The average American consumes about 3,300 milligrams of salt a day but current guidelines call for no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, about a teaspoon of salt, and some groups, like the American Heart Association, say adults should limit salt intake to 1,500 milligrams or less.
Some of the successes cited by Bloomberg include Nabisco's Teddy Grahams Honey flavor graham snacks (33 percent reduction in sodium, Kraft Singles American Slices (18 percent reduction), and Ragu Old World Style Traditional Tomato Sauce (20 percent reduction). Bloomberg also said that the restaurant chain Subway reduced the sodium in its Subway Club by 32 percent per serving and in the Italian B.M.T. sandwich by 27 percent per serving.
To find out more about sodium content of processed foods, check out the National Salt Reduction Initiative. And always check nutrition labels when purchasing processed foods to see how much salt a product contains.