On Wednesday, the FDA issued new guidelines that call on processed food manufactures and chain restaurants to reduce added sodium in their food products by at least twelve percent over the next 2 1/2 years. Diets high in sodium can cause hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
“What we’d like to see is the food industry gradually lower the sodium content” in the most common foods, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, told NBC News.
Currently, the FDA recommends that people should not consumer more than 2300 mg of sodium a day (or one teaspoon) and less for those over 50. People diagnosed with hypertension should not consume over 1500 mg of sodium. Currently, the average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium a day. most of our excess sodium intake comes from processed foods, such as canned soups, salad dressing, snacks, etc, or from eating out, especially at chain or fast-food restaurants.
Although a 12 percent reduction in added sodium would not meet the daily 2300 mg of sodium the FDA says we should not exceed, experts claim it’s a good, first step in the right direction in reducing heart disease in the USA.
Tips for eating a diet lower in sodium:
Here are sodium-related terms you may see on food packages:
- Sodium-free – Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving and contains no sodium chloride
- Very low sodium – 35 milligrams or less per serving
- Low sodium – 140 milligrams or less per serving
- Reduced (or less) sodium – At least 25 percent less sodium per serving than the usual sodium level
- Light (for sodium-reduced products) – If the food is “low calorie” and “low fat” and sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving
- Light in sodium – If sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving