This week’s question


Dear Barb,

I’m trying to cut down on the use of salt. They say that we require 1,500mg of salt a day. One slice of whole wheat bread contains 160mg salt. That’s 7 percent of the required amount for the day. If my wife makes bread and uses one tablespoon salt to make eight loaves, how many miligrams of sodium is that?

— Signed, The Salt Patrol

Dear Salt Patrol,

There are 2,400mg of salt per teaspoon, so that would be 7,200mg per tablespoon. That would make 900 mg of salt per loaf. Each slice would have a percentage.

According to the CDC, breads are a major source of salt in the normal American diet. Not only do the breads themselves contain salt, but given that we top breads with things like ham, cheeses and spreads, all of which contain salt, it’s not surprising that eating bread adds significantly to the daily salt intake. Sandwiches are not always best. Just for kicks, do the math of the total salt in one sandwich.

The average recommended amount is 2,400mg daily, restrictive amount 1,500mg daily.

Other hidden salt demons: A 12 ounces of frozen cheese pizza can contain more than 2,000mg of salt, almost the entire day’s recommended salt intake. Just two slices of a take-away pizza could have up to 800mg. If you feel bloated or thirsty the next morning after a pizza party, it is not your imagination!

Eating fresh spinach and adding a little salt on top would be much less than opening a can of spinach. Eating fresh keeps the saltshaker in your hands. The truth is that companies just want it to taste better regardless of your health impact.

Barb Rock is a mental health counselor and author in Tacoma, and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at

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