New FDA Guidelines to Reduce the Consumption of Salt

The FDA has issued new guidelines to reduce the average amount of salt consumed by Americans.

Courtesy of Yahoo

The FDA has issued new guidelines to reduce the average amount of salt consumed by Americans.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

Is it possible to name something more prominent in the American diet than salt? It would be difficult to do so. Salt is found in nearly all food, and in America, where many people’s diets contain processed, packaged, and prepared food, eating a meal without salt can be a challenging feat. But the average amount of salt consumed by Americans is far too high, with Reuters stating that the average per day is 3,400 mg of salt despite the recommended amount of salt per day being only 2,300 mg. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, better known as the FDA, plans to tackle this problem by setting new goals that are meant to lower the average American salt consumption per day down to 3,000 mg.

The reason that the FDA wants to reduce the average amount of salt consumption in the United States is because consuming too much salt can be harmful to a person’s health. According to Reuters, 4 in 1 people suffer from high blood pressure, and if the FDA were to succeed in lowering the average salt consumption, hundreds of thousands of deaths and illnesses could potentially be avoided. While this is great news, it should still be kept in mind that the goal of 3,000 mg per day of salt is still higher than the recommended 2,300 mg per day. The American Heart Association brought this concern to attention by stating “The FDA’s targets represent an important step forward, but lowering sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day is not enough.”

The problem with salt is that even if people actively try to lower their salt consumption by doing things such as avoiding adding salt to their home cooking, salt is found in nearly all food purchased in stores and restaurants. According to the FDA, 70% of sodium that is consumed comes from salt that is added to products in stores and restaurants. From chicken and salad dressing, to less obvious things such as medication, salt is integrated strongly into the American diet; that is precisely why the FDA is seeking to lower the amount of salt consumed by Americans.

According to MSN, to achieve their goal, the FDA will ask the food industry to voluntarily reduce their sodium levels in 163 types of the most consumed types of packaged, processed, and prepared foods. The FDA plans to eventually set more guidelines so that the American average salt consumption can eventually go down to the recommended 2,300 per day. By setting a higher goal now, they will eventually be able to wean the food industry until they reach their goal. As said by Juliana Neemeh (11), “It is great that the FDA is trying to reduce the amount of salt consumed by Americans, and hopefully in the near future, the average salt consumption will go down to healthy amounts.”