Question Sheet: Salt secrets


Before reading:

  1. What is salt and where does it come from?
  2. List at least three uses for salt.
  3. Many foods contain salt. Some are even described as low-salt foods. Is the

    salt in our diets a good thing, a bad thing or neither?

During reading:

  1.      What type of salt “concerns scientists most?”
  2.      What are the ingredients in salt?
  3.      In our bodies, what is sodium good for?
  4.      Name three health problems that too much sodium (or salt) can pose?
  5.      What is hypertension?
  6.      Can kids get high blood pressure?

After reading:

  1. Identify five ways you and your family might reduce your intake of salt in


  2. What foods have the most sodium?
  3. One major concern about sodium in our foods is its potential contribution to

    high blood pressure. Why do you think high blood pressure is dangerous? (Hint:

    What is the pressure acting upon?)


  1. Tally your intake of salt for two days. On the first day, eat normally (but

    look at how much sodium is in each food that makes it into your mouth). On the

    second day, try to keep salt (sodium) levels low. How much were you able to

    reduce your salt intake — and what difference did it make to the taste of your


  2. Identify five ways to reduce the amount of salt in your family’s food.

    (Hint: There are plenty of good websites for finding suggestions to do this.)

  3. What’s the impact of high blood pressure on the U.S. population: How many

    people have this condition, what are their risks of disease, which people (age,

    gender, race) are most likely to develop elevated blood pressure? What are the

    costs for treating this condition? What are the financial costs to society in

    terms of people who get sick and can’t work or must pay for medicines to treat

    their condition?


  1. Write new words to a popular song (for instance: Happy Birthday to


    , Yankee Doodle, or the theme from a popular TV show) that

    point to all of the places salt hides out in our diet.

  2. Write a letter to some member of your family or a neighbor explaining why

    reducing the amount of salt would make a healthy change. Make it persuasive by

    listing some of the costs that this person — and people across the nation —

    might avoid with the dietary change. Explain why the change doesn’t have to be

    difficult or make food taste uninteresting.