Before jumping in, last week I wrote about sodium’s effects on the heart. Now I’d like to take a better look at where all this sodium is coming from! “The Salty Six” includes the top six sources of sodium in diets of U.S. adults and children. Let’s take a look at each and some examples that may be surprising!

Bread and Rolls

Pepperidge Farm’s “Original White” bread contains 75 mg of sodium per slice, while their “100% Natural Whole Wheat” bread contains 105 mg per slice. Even though each serving may not seem high, this is only one slice and sodium intake from foods like bread can add up throughout the day. Check the labels on your bread, rolls, and bagels to find lower sodium options.


Cold Cuts and Cured Meats

Only 2 oz. (about 6 thin slices) of Boar’s Head’s oven-roasted turkey breast contains 360 mg of sodium. Both their black forest ham and oven-roasted chicken breast contain 440 mg of sodium in 2 oz. Try cutting lunch meats out of your diet, but if you must, look for lower-sodium options and, as with anything, eat in moderation.



This is technically a combination of the first two foods but think about the amount of sodium you end up with both together. A sandwich or burger can contain more than 100% of your sodium for the day with just one item- not even including the side of fries or chips most would probably get.

A 6″ Italian BMT from Subway has a minimum of 1400 mg of sodium. Eat fresh right? Nope. That’s just a 6″ also- a 12″ cold cut combo has a whopping 2,530 mg of sodium. Even a foot-long veggie delight has almost 1,000 mg of sodium!

A burger king whopper has 810 mg of sodium. Add in the 570 mg of sodium from a small fry and you have a salt-bomb ready to explode.


One slice of a pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut has 620 mg of sodium. A slice of regular cheese contains 560 mg of sodium. The sodium content will vary largely by what toppings are added on top. If you must have pizza, try to limit the cheese and keep the toppings to just vegetables. A 4-ounce slice of a basic margarita pizza made with whole-grain crust, olive oil, red tomato, and low-fat mozzarella has 90 calories and 60 mg of sodium.



This one is probably surprising for a lot of you. One can of soup ranges from 100 to 940 mg of sodium! Check the labels to look around for lower sodium options. One cup of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup contains 890 mg of sodium- over 1/3rd of your recommended daily intake. In comparison, Progresso’s reduced-sodium chicken noodle soup contains 470 mg of sodium. For you Chinese food fans, that miso soup has almost 1,000 mg of sodium in just one cup, so avoid that completely.



The sodium content of chicken will vary depending on the cut and method of preparation. One skinless, unseasoned chicken breast has only 77 mg of sodium. Marinating chicken can up the sodium content to around 500 mg per breast. Taking it one step further- a fried chicken breast from KFC has 1,130 mg of sodium. Chicken can be a nutritious, heart-healthy option, so choose how you prepare it wisely!


This list isn’t all-encompassing and there are certainly more salty foods out there. My guilty pleasure is Chipotle, but if you think that burrito or salad is healthy because of all the fresh ingredients check out this page on their website and see how your order stack up:

The order I would typically get has 2,230 mg of sodium (holy s**t)… Let me know what yours is in the comments below or anything else on this list that may have surprised you!