FDA Asks Restaurants and Food Manufacturers to Cut Salt Usage to Save Americans' Lives

The FDA this week released new voluntary guidelines to the food industry in an attempt to reduce the amount of sodium in processed, packaged, and prepared foods. Restaurants, food manufacturers, and food service operators (school cafeterias, food trucks, etc.) are being asked to scale back their usage of sodium. The average sodium intake in the U.S. is currently approximately 3,400mg a day. The FDA hopes the new guidelines will reduce that number to about 3,000mg a day, or about a teaspoon. Their recommendations were set up to reduce the burden of preventable diet-related chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Sodium intake has been linked with high rates of high blood pressure, the FDA said, which is a leading factor for strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. Limiting certain nutrients — such as sodium — plays a crucial role in preventing these diseases. According to the FDA, more than 70% of total sodium intake is from sodium added during food manufacturing and commercial food preparation, making it challenging for consumers who may want to reduce their sodium intake to do so. In their release, the FDA said they plan to issue revised, subsequent targets in the future. Lowering sodium intake over the next decade by about 40% could potentially save 500,000 lives.