WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC)- The Food and Drug Administration is asking food manufacturers and restaurants to cut the salt in their products over the coming two and a half years, hoping to reduce Americans’ overall sodium intake by 12 percent.
The sweeping recommendation was announced today and is expected to cover a wide variety of foods, from chain restaurant meals to processed food on grocery store shelves and even baby food.
Current dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. That equates to about one teaspoon of table salt. But the average person in the U.S. consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, according to the FDA. The majority of that is coming from processed foods, not table salt.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock told NBC News the goal is to slash rates of heart disease, the country’s number one killer. The new recommendations aim to cut the average salt intake by 12%, down to 3,000 MGA a day, according to Dr. Woodcock. That is the equivalent of consuming 60 fewer teaspoons of salt a year.
“We are targeting lower sodium for a wide variety of prepared, processed or packaged foods, and the reason is that Americans are eating too much sodium, causing high blood pressure and many other medical problems as a result of that, for example heart disease, kidney disease and stroke just to name the few,” explained Dr. Woodcock.
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