Sandwich Eaters Consume More Sodium, Calories

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, there’s a about a 50 percent chance that you’re planning to have a sandwich today. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics indicates that much of the sodium and calories we consume comes from sandwiches.

Researchers analysed the dietary intake of 5,762 adults who participated in the “What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2010.” They found that 49 percent of U.S. adults—54 percent of women and 44 percent of men—eat at least one sandwich daily, and that those sandwiches account for 20 percent of their daily dietary sodium intake.

Researchers also found that those who ate sandwiches on the day they were surveyed ate an average of 300 calories more than non-sandwich-eaters, and took in an average of roughly 600 more milligrams of sodium, compared to those who did not eat sandwiches.

Before you begin worrying that you’re going to have to give up your daily sandwich, keep in mind that there are a wide range of items that can be classified as sandwiches. In this study, researchers classified fast food hamburgers and hot dogs as sandwiches, which most likely drove up the average sodium and caloric intake per sandwich.

“The unanticipated finding that sandwich consumption is associated with higher overall intake of energy underscores the importance of making healthful choices of sandwich ingredients,” said study co-author Cecilia Wilkinson Enns, via press release. “Many sandwiches, such as burgers and hot dogs, and common sandwich components, such as yeast breads, cheese, and cured meats, are among the top contributors not only to sodium but also to energy in the diets of adult Americans.”

The ingredients you use to build your sandwiches make all the difference, and comparing one sandwich to another can be like comparing apples to oranges, or apples to chocolate cake. The takeaway from this study is that paying attention to the sodium and caloric content of the sandwiches you build can make a big difference.

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