What’s wrong with sodium? The FDA issues new guidelines and new public guidelines. | Health


The public is now well aware of the health related illnesses associated with processed foods high in fat and sodium – but how much do we really need to worry? The FDA is concerned enough to change its policies on sodium levels in food production.

Food has an impact on the development of chronic diseases. When it comes to sodium, excessive consumption leads to a much higher risk of developing health problems, namely cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. The FDA notes that these conditions have a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minority groups.

According to FDA research, people consume 50% more sodium than recommended. This includes our youngest and most vulnerable populations, with over 95% of children aged 2 to 13 exceeding the recommended sodium limits for their age group.

FDA research also suggests that about 70% of sodium intake comes from packaged, processed, and restaurant foods, making it difficult to limit sodium.

The FDA has made changes to the entire food supply with the goal of improving access to low-sodium options and reducing intake, even in the absence of behavior change.

Today, the FDA made a notable policy change – a nationwide update of sodium policies in food production and consumption.

The FDA has issued a final guideline, “Voluntary Sodium Reduction Targets: Average Levels and Upper Limits for Sodium in Processed, Packaged, and Commercially Prepared Foods,” which provides voluntary short-term sodium reduction targets for manufacturers. of food products, restaurant chains and food services. operators for 163 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods.

The goals of the final guidance are to reduce the average sodium intake from approximately 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day, or a reduction of approximately 12%, over the next 2.5 years.

Although the average intake is still above the limit recommended by the dietary guidelines for Americans of 2,300 mg per day for those 14 years and older, the FDA maintains that gradual reductions over the next few years will significantly reduce related illnesses. to food.

The FDA offers directions for reducing sodium intake.

Steps you can take to reduce sodium

  • Try to cut back on foods that are high in sodium, such as deli sandwiches, pizzas, burritos, and tacos. Remember, it is important to cut down on both meals at home and dining out. If you’re ordering a standard menu item at a restaurant chain, ask to see the written nutrition facts and choose a low sodium option.

  • Compare products. Before buying, check the Nutrition Facts label to compare the sodium content of packaged products (there are a good variety of similar foods available). For example, data collected by the FDA shows that breads can range from 300 mg to 700 mg per 100 grams of bread.

  • Try to stay below the Daily Value (DV) for sodium. The DV for sodium is the recommended daily limit – your goal is not to exceed this amount. As a general rule: 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is considered low, and 20% DV or more of sodium per serving is considered high.

  • Expand your horizons of spices. Try salt-free seasoning blends, herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your food.

  • For more information, please visit Sodium in Your Food | FDA.

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