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Busting salt myths

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ATLANTA -

Overloading on salt can set you up for health problems down the road, experts warn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 90 percent of Americans are getting too much sodium in our diets. The Heart Association says a lot of us need to rethink what we're sprinkling on our food.

Most folks know too much salt  can potentially cause too many problems including high blood pressure, and various heart diseases, but Emory University professor Sandra Dunbar says one of the biggest salt myths out there is that you should try to completely eliminate salt from your diet.

"We do need some sodium, because we need sodium to help with just normal body functions," said Dunbar.

Even if you did try to eliminate salt from your diet, it would be extremely challenging.

"It's hidden in things that you might not expect," said Dunbar. "We see high sodium in things like bread and cheese – chicken. Even though we tend to say chicken is heart-healthy because of lower fat, lower cholesterol, sometimes the processing can result in chicken being salt brine,"   

The American Heart Association points out another big myth: sea salt may be trendy, but it's still salt.

"It has just as much salt or sodium as table salt. It will have as much as 40 percent," Dunbar said.

The Heart Association says another myth:  food just won't taste good without salt. They say there are all kinds of spices, and herbs -- even citrus -- you can use to flavor your food without salt.

When shopping, watch out for words like "cured," "smoked," "pickled" or "brined." They are all key words for "loaded with salt."

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