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Am J Prev Med. 2014 Jun;46(6):633-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.01.012.

A comprehensive analysis of sodium levels in the Canadian packaged food supply.

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address: mary.labbe@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Population-wide sodium reduction strategies aim to reduce the cardiovascular burden of excess dietary sodium. Lowering sodium in packaged foods, which contribute the most dietary sodium, is an important intervention to lower population intakes.

PURPOSE:

To determine sodium levels in Canadian packaged foods and evaluate the proportion of foods meeting sodium benchmark targets set by Health Canada.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional analysis of 7,234 packaged foods available in Canada in 2010-2011. Sodium values were obtained from the Nutrition Facts table.

RESULTS:

Overall, 51.4% of foods met one of the sodium benchmark levels: 11.5% met Phase 1, 11.1% met Phase 2, and 28.7% met 2016 goal (Phase 3) benchmarks. Food groups with the greatest proportion meeting goal benchmarks were dairy (52.0%) and breakfast cereals (42.2%). Overall, 48.6% of foods did not meet any benchmark level and 25% of all products exceeded maximum levels. Meats (61.2%) and canned vegetables and legumes (29.6%) had the most products exceeding maximum levels. The range of sodium within and between food categories was highly variable. Food categories highest in sodium (mg/serving) were dry, condensed, and ready-to-serve soups (834±256, 754±163, and 636±173, respectively); oriental noodles (783±433); broth (642±239); and frozen appetizers/sides (642±292).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data provide a critical baseline assessment for monitoring sodium levels in Canadian foods. Although some segments of the market are making progress toward sodium reduction, all sectors need encouragement to continue to reduce the amount of sodium added during food processing.

PMID:
24842740
PMCID:
PMC4870024
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2014.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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