Americans consume far too much salt. The FDA recommends a daily limit of 2,300 mg per day (1,500 mg or less for people with heart problems), but the average American consumes 3,400 mg per day.
Excess salt is a major contributor to health problems. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, 48% of Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.
Reducing salt intake can be very difficult, because must restaurant meals and packaged foods are very high in sodium.
“We recognize that cutting down on sodium in your diet is hard to do on your own, because about 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, packaged and prepared foods,” says Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
On October 14, 2021, the FDA announced new guidelines for food processors and restaurants to reduce sodium. Although the guidelines are voluntary, the agency hopes to have a major impact on sodium consumption. They have set a goal of reducing the average sodium intake from 3,400 mg to 3,000 mg over the next two and a half years.
In the mean time, there are steps you can take to reduce your personal salt consumption:
Smart shopping for a low-sodium diet
Managing salt while eating out