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Bread has hidden salt

Published:Wednesday | May 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Charlyn Fargo, Contributor

Looking to cut back on sodium consumption? First, just where could the sodium in your diet be coming from? A new study by the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) finds the No. 1 contributor is bread. Surprisingly, bread adds nearly twice the sodium to average consumption as chips and other salty snacks.

It's not that bread is high in salt (the average is between 80 and 230 mg) but that we eat so much bread. (And it all adds up). Other food groups of sodium contribution in the CDC's top 10 were: cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches and burgers, cheese, pasta dishes, meat-mixed dishes (like meat loaf with tomato sauce, and savoury snacks, according to Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, May 2012.

Those 10 food groups account for 44 per cent of sodium in the typical United States (US) diet, according to CDC researcher Mary Cogswell and colleagues.

The average daily sodium consumption is 3,266 mg (excluding salt used at the table). That figure is nearly 1,000 mg more than the maximum recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and more than double the 1,500 mg daily that the Guidelines advise for all African Americans and people older than 50, anyone with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease - over half of the US adult population.

The best approach to lowering sodium is to read labels, try using reduced-sodium foods and realise all the small amounts can add up in favourite foods quickly

Information courtesy of Center for Disease Controls and Tufts University Health Letter.

Plyometrics exercises

Q: I've seen advertisements for home exercise programmes that include something called plyometrics. It's supposed to be extra-effective for weight loss, but I'm wondering if it's safe for someone rather out-of-shape.

A: Plyometrics is a popular form of exercise today, included in a wide range of programmes from boot camps at your local fitness centre to sports conditioning classes. Plyometrics exercises come in many different forms, all of which focus on quick, explosive moves that aim for strength, power and speed all at once.

Intensity is high, so while Plyometrics burns many calories and can be great for advancing cardiovascular fitness, the pace and form could be unsafe for someone who's out of shape. One common Plyometrics movement involves jump squats: you jump as high as you can, and then coming down, bend your knees to go directly into a squat, touch the ground and repeat a few times.

For people at a high weight, this can result in a very large force coming down, and if the landing movement is not quite right, it can lead to injury. For unsupervised at-home exercise, it's extra important that you not attempt moves that could lead to injury if done incorrectly, or at an intensity that may be unsafe for you.

Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at