FDA to Slash Sodium Recommendations

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The FDA is moving to lower the salt levels in commercial food.

A lot of commercial-grade food you’d find in an average grocery store, be it processed, packaged, or frozen, is often absolutely packed with sodium. Sodium is frequently used as both as preservative and a flavor-enhancer, but high levels of sodium have been cited as a reason for increases in heart disease, among other medical complications. As such, the US Food and Drug Administration has decided it’s time to cut the salt down, at least a little bit.

“The targets seek to decrease average sodium intake from approximately 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day, about a 12% reduction, over the next 2.5 years,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition director Susan Mayne said in a statement.

“Although the average intake would still be above the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended limit of 2,300 mg per day for those 14 and older, we know that even these modest reductions—made slowly over the next few years—will substantially decrease diet-related diseases, make for a healthier population overall and lower the burden of health care costs in this country.”

As Mayne said, these reductions, while an improvement, don’t quite reach the ideal levels for human health. According to the American Heart Association, the ideal amount of daily salt intake is 1,500 mg, or 2,300 mg at the absolute most.

“Lowering sodium levels in the food supply would reduce risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and death in addition to saving billions of dollars in health-care costs over the next decade,” The AHH said a statement. “Many members of the food and restaurant industry have begun to reduce sodium in their products. We strongly encourage the industry as a whole to adopt these targets and build upon existing efforts to reduce sodium in their products and meals.”

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