Saturday, October 23, 2021

FDA Releases New Salt Guide Aimed At Lowering Levels

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BEHAVIORS THAT COULD CAUSE A HEART ATTACK “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,” the agency said in a news release. 

The guidance is aimed at reducing sodium levels in 163 subcategories of foods. The COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA said, has magnified these health disparities, and research shows that Americans consume 50% more sodium than recommended. 

Limiting sodium in diets, it noted, plays a key role in preventing diseases, like hypertension and cardiovascular disease, which disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority groups, result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and cost billions annually. What’s more, 95% of children age 2 to 13 years old exceed recommended limits of sodium for their age groups, and the majority of sodium in U.S. diets comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, making it tricky to limit sodium. 

The FDA said it hoped the initiative would become “one of the most significant public health nutrition interventions in a generation,” noting that the U.S. is facing a “growing epidemic of preventable, diet-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.” Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Director Susan T. Mayne and FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a Wednesday media call that the agency would incrementally make more reductions in the future.

Changes sparked by the final guidance, “Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods,” would make it easier to access lower-sodium options and reduce intake. The FDA notes that sodium is added to these foods to control microbial growth as well as improve flavor and texture. People “usually don’t notice small reductions” of about 10% in sodium, and taste buds get used to gradual changes, the agency said in an accompanying FAQ page.

The FDA urged that the food industry work to meet short-term goals as soon as possible and said the agency would continue a dialogue with the industry’s members as sodium content of food supply is monitored to evaluate progress. The agency will work in tandem with other groups, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER IN SODA, OTHER DRINKS MAY INCREASE FOOD CRAVINGS, APPETITE IN WOMEN AND OBESE PEOPLE

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