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Ann Nutr Metab. 1982;26(2):90-9.

Estimating sodium intake from food consumption data.


A pilot study to test the usefulness of food consumption data in estimating sodium intake and the sources of sodium in the diet was carried out on 154 women and men aged 24-64 years (mean age 45 years). The subjects kept food records for 4 consecutive days and collected three 24-hour urine samples starting on the 2nd day. The calculation of sodium intake was based on both the average sodium content of nonprepared and manufactured foods and on the average salt content of different prepared foods and dishes. The 24-hour sodium excretion was, on the average, 93% of the calculated intake indicating that this method can give valid results for groups of people at least. Naturally occurring sodium constituted about 13% of the total sodium intake and sodium from table salt used in food preparation about 43%. The most important food items were bread, constituting 20% of the sodium intake, and sausages and other meat products providing 12%. The discretionary (consumer-controlled) use of salt was about 40%, being lowest among men and younger people in general. The results of this study indicate that food consumption data collected in nutrition surveys could be used for estimating sodium intake and sources of sodium in the diet of population groups whenever accurate data on the salt content of local foods are available.

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