In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for monitoring drug and food manufacturing. And this Wednesday (13), the agency published new guidelines aimed at restaurants and food factories. Basically, the alert is to reduce sodium, a substance very present in salt. The FDA’s idea is to reduce the average daily sodium intake by 12% over the next two and a half years.
High salt intake in the US is associated with alarming rates of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. According to the FDA itself, more than 4 in 10 adults in the country in question have high blood pressure.
Much of this excess sodium, about 70%, comes from processed and packaged foods and meals served in restaurants. In the statement announcing the new guidelines, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, says this is the first step in an entire campaign aimed at gradually reducing the nation’s sodium intake to get as close as possible to what is recommended: 2.3 grams of sodium per day.
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The FDA estimate is that reducing sodium intake by about 40% over ten years could save 500,000 lives. Experts recommend mandatory limits for sodium, but recognize that this is still an arduous task.
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