Are You Eating Too Much Salt?

Though some cities and states already require restaurants to display nutrition information like sodium content on menus and in brochures, CSPI hopes the government will move to regulate salt as a dangerous additive.

The Salt List -- and Healthier Alternatives

The report highlighted five meals with excessive amounts of sodium.

"Those are, you know, practically killers," Jacobson said. "And for somebody that already has high blood pressure, they are really at risk of getting congestive heart failure several hours after the meal."

Still, Ayoob said, "Most of these places also have good choices."

The meals packed with sodium and the better choices include:

At Red Lobster:

No. 1: The Admirals' Feast with Caesar salad, creamy lobster-topped mashed potato, cheddar bay biscuit and a lemonade. 7,106 mg (about 3.1 teaspoons) of salt.

Instead try: The wood-grilled tilapia with fresh broccoli, a garden salad with Thousand Island dressing and an unsweetened iced tea for 555 mg. Order dressing on the side to reduce that number further.

At Chili's:

No. 2: Chili's buffalo chicken fajitas with tortillas and condiments and a Dr Pepper. 6,916 mg.

No. 3: Chili's honey-chipotle ribs with mashed potatoes with gravy, seasonal vegetables, and a Dr Pepper. 6,440 mg.

Instead try: The guiltless grilled salmon with marinated portobello mushrooms and a Sprite for 543 mg.

Tips for Reducing Salt Intake

At Olive Garden:

No. 4: Tour of Italy (lasagna) with a breadstick, garden fresh salad with house dressing and a Coca-Cola. 6,176 mg.

No. 5: Olive Garden chicken parmigiana with a breadstick, garden fresh salad with house dressing, and raspberry lemonade. 5,735 mg.

Instead try: The herb grilled salmon, a bread stick and ice tea. 1,111 mg.

"Hunt around and you can find a few meals that are relatively low in sodium," Jacobsen said. "But if you just take a stab in the dark, at any meal, at practically any restaurant, it's going to be high in sodium."

Other tips for reducing sodium intake:

Opt for smaller portions, as well as salads and fruit. "If you've got a salty meal, ask yourself , 'Do you need to eat all of it?' Is it also coming with grease and calories, which is to me the bigger issue. And if it is, think about alternatives," Ayoob said.

Check out restaurants' nutrition information for better choices.

Eat in. Jacobson said frozen dinners have about one-third of the salt content of restaurant meals. "The safest thing would be to stay away from restaurants because it's hard to avoid salt," he said.

Think twice about the extras. "Be wary of condiments and things in cans," Ayoob said.

Speak up. "If you want less salt, just speak up," Ayoob said. "Most restaurants are accommodating, especially in this economy. They're much more willing to accommodate than they were before."

Take it slow: Gradually reduce your salt intake to make the change painless. "There's definitely a way to cut back without having to feel like you are on a special diet," Ayoob said.

ABC News' Vic Ratner and Elisabeth Leamy contributed to this report.

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