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Experts warn of excess salt in Thanksgiving foods

Health experts warn to use less salt this Thanksgiving, as many parts of the meal already contain the daily intake.
November 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Health experts are warning people to ease up on the salt this Thanksgiving, as there is already plenty of hidden salt in other parts of the holiday meal.

Experts believe people might be getting their recommended intake of sodium even before they begin eating turkey.

For example, about 600 milligrams of sodium per serving can come from stuffing mix and another 270 can come from gravy. Using canned beans in the green bean casserole can add another 350, a small dinner roll adds 130 and a piece of pumpkin pie could bring as much as 350.

And while raw turkey is naturally low in sodium, some turkeys may be injected with salt water for plumping. A salt water-injected turkey purchased fully-cooked adds 640 more milligrams of sodium to the meal, while a raw salt water-injected turkey provides about half that.

Total, Thanksgiving dinner alone can pass between 2,000 to 2,340 milligrams of sodium, depending on your choices. When compared to the nation's new recommended daily sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams, that leaves little to no room for a second helping.

Recommendations for reducing salt intake at the dinner table include substituting cornbread for boxed stuffing, using low-sodium broth for the gravy and replacing salt with onion, garlic, and a variety of herbs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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