FDA urged to lower salt level in diet

08:55, April 21, 2010      

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The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on Tuesday urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cut levels of salt in the American diet over the next decade.

"Reducing American's excessive sodium consumption requires establishing new federal standards for the amount of salt that food manufacturers, restaurants and food service companies can add to their products," the NAS said in a news release.

The FDA should slowly but surely cut back the levels of salt that manufacturers typically add to foods over the next decade, the NAS said.

The plan is for the FDA to "gradually step down the maximum amount of salt that can be added to foods, beverages and meals through a series of incremental reductions," the statement said.

"The goal is not to ban salt, but rather to bring the amount of sodium in the average American's diet below levels associated with the risk of hypertension, heart disease and stroke, and to do so in a gradual way that will assure that food remains flavorful to the consumer."

According to the new report, 32 percent of American adults now have hypertension, which in 2009 cost over 73 billion dollars to manage and treat. And the American Medical Association asserts that halving the amount of salt in foods could save 150,000 lives in the United States each year.

"There is clearly a direct link between sodium intake and health outcome, said Mary K. Muth, director of food and agricultural research at RTI International, a no-for-profit research organization, and a member of the committee that wrote the report.

It needs to be done in a stepwise and monitored process, she said. "Consumers will adapt to lower levels of sodium that will be found to be just as tasty with gradual reductions over time.

The recommended maximum daily intake of sodium for an adult American is 2,300 milligrams a day, the amount in about one tablespoon of salt, while the recommended adequate intake is 1,500 milligrams, and even lower for those over 50. But Americans consume 3,400 milligrams of sodium, on average, a day, according to the report.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王寒露)

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