FDA Issues Salt Guidelines

Last Wednesday, the FDA took another step is pushing back the American diet to its more healthful days; the Administration issued draft guidelines with voluntary targets for salt reduction.  The hope is to reduce salt intake from an average 3,400 milligrams per day to 3,000 milligrams in two years and down to 2,300 milligrams in a decade.

The proposal comes with “overwhelming” scientific evidence and would purportedly saved thousands of lives in the years to come.  “Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70 percent of the sodium consumed in the country is already in food before it reaches the table.

“The majority of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, not the saltshaker,” noted the F.D.A. statement.

However, some scientists have an opposing opinion: David A. McCarron, a research associate in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, said a number of studies had shown risks of too little salt. “Going below 3,000 [mg] is dangerous — that’s what the data has shown,” said Professor McCarron, who has consulted for the food industry.

But F.D.A. scientists said the health advantages of getting down to the recommended 2,300 milligrams a day were beyond dispute. The science has been well vetted,said Susan Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the F.D.A.

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