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Reducing the Nation’s Sodium Intake

The Food and Drug Administration is asking for comments about reducing sodium consumption. Let them know what you think by January 27, 2012.

The Dietary Guidelines 2010 put Americans in two groups regarding sodium intake: those 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should reduce their intake to 1500 mg daily, while the rest of Americans ages 2 and older should limit their sodium intake to 2300 mg daily.

The average daily sodium consumption for American adults is about 4000 milligrams. Most of that sodium comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker.

Too much salt in the diet can contribute to hypertension and an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

The FDA has requested comments concerning a variety of sodium-related topics:

  • Current and emerging practices by the private sector regarding sodium reduction in foods. The food industry has seen this coming for a while. They’ve been reducing the amount of sodium in many processed foods, but is it enough?
  • Current consumer understanding of the role of sodium in hypertension and other chronic illnesses.
  • Sodium consumption practices
  • Motivation and barriers in reducing sodium in consumers’ food intakes
  • Issues associated with the development of targets for sodium reduction in foods to promote reduction in excess sodium intake

Let the FDA know what you think of reducing sodium consumption. The original comment period has been extended to January 27, 2012, due to a request by an industry association. The food industry is paying attention to this topic.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a form to make it easy to comment. They include a sample letter.

Salt photo via Shutterstock