As we all know, salt is quite important to enhance the flavor of different recipes. It also increases the shelf life of different foods. High intake of sodium is linked with different illnesses including high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart failure, kidney stones, stomach cancer, and stroke. FDA has issued new guidelines to reduce salt intake in foods.
The key points include:
- The Food and Drug Administration is asking restaurants to cut the use of salts in different foods as increased usage of sodium has been seen there.
- FDA is asking the food companies, services, and restaurants to reduce the amount of salt over the next two and half years.
- Companies claim that implementing the recommendations will be difficult since salt enhances the flavor of food and increases its shelf life.
- The guidelines aim to help people reduce their sodium intake from 3400mg to 3000mg per day. It is still higher than recommended 2300mg per day. But the aim is to balance it gradually.
- Nutritionists say this problem can be overcome by cooking healthy meals from fresh fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients.
Americans love to consume salty food, but the situation is getting alarming. Most people are at high risk of getting high blood pressure, kidney failure, and heart diseases.
The percentage is already extraordinarily high – more than four out of every ten white Americans have excessive blood pressure, and the proportion is even worse for black Americans (6 in 10).
FDA is now asking the companies to cut the use of salt in food.
The recommended amount of sodium intake is 2300 milligrams per day, but on average, most Americans consume 3400 milligrams (approx. 1 teaspoon) per day. Of that, almost 70% of sodium comes from packaged or processed food.
FDA has encouraged the manufacturers not to exceed the recommended amount and gradually lower the quantity of sodium in their products.
FDA officials said in their recommendations:
“We recognize this isn’t a change that will happen overnight. It requires an iterative approach that supports gradual reductions in sodium levels broadly across the food supply over time. This approach will also allow consumers’ tastes to adjust and result in better health outcomes.”
Initially, these guidelines will cover 163 categories of packaged and processed foods. This list also includes the dozens of other products served in big restaurants like fries, tacos, and pasta.
Nutritionists and health care providers have praised the efforts of the FDA as it will make people aware of health issues related to sodium intake. They also think it will put pressure on large restaurant chains to limit the amount of sodium in their foods as a cheap source of flavor enhancers.
On other hand, some people still believe it will not make a significant impact because of the lobbying powers of large food chains.
The immediate reaction of the food industry towards the new guidelines was fairly subdued. Large food corporations like PepsiCo and McDonald’s did not reply immediately to the comments of new guidelines.
FDA is very hopeful to achieve this goal and said they would continue to revise the guidelines once current goals are met.
FDA hopes that an ongoing and gradual strategy will be beneficial for both producers and consumers. It will eventually reduce the demand for overly salted foods.
While we wait for the implementation of these guidelines, there are a few things that we can do to reduce the intake of sodium in our diet.
- Choosing whole foods over processed and preparing meals with low sodium at home are the best strategies to reduce salt consumption.
- Add more spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of recipes instead of salt.
- Furthermore, make a habit of reading the labels of food items while shopping.