FDA issues Guidelines

FDA issues Guidelines for Reducing Sodium in Processed Foods

US government suggests sodium reduction goals for 150 categories of food, with the ultimate objective of dropping Americans average intake.

The US federal government released guidelines on Wednesday outlining suggested ways for the food industry to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, as part of a larger initiative to decrease Americans average daily salt intake.

The Food and Drug Administration is publishing the draft guidelines for public comment. The suggested guidelines include two- and 10-year sodium reduction goals for 150 categories of food, with the ultimate objective of dropping Americans average intake from 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day to 2,300. When finalized, the guidelines will describe the FDAs current thinking on this topic, according to the draft. The guidelines will be voluntary but the FDA will encourage their adoption by food manufacturers.

Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but thats hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants, the health secretary, Sylvia Burwell, said in a statement announcing the release of the draft.

The FDA described the science supporting the relationship between lower salt intake and health as clear, and said that sodium intake causes higher blood pressure which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.

The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels, said Susan Mayne in the statement. Mayne is the director of the FDAs Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Officials at the American Heart Association announced their support for the FDAs initiative, calling the guidelines a movement in the right direction and pointing to the link between low-sodium diets and lower blood pressure.

The FDAs proposed guidelines come despite persistent opposition from a group of scientists who insist that Americans current salt intake is optimal, and that the conclusion that a drop in sodium intake would improve cardiovascular health is flawed.

Actually, theres absolutely no data ever to show that lowering sodium intake to below 2,300 milligrams, certainly to below 2,000 milligrams, to be associated with a reduction in risk in cardiovascular disease events or mortality, said Andrew Mente, an associate professor at McMaster University.

Mente said that while lowering sodium intake will decrease blood pressure, such a drop in salt consumption doesnt necessarily cause improved cardiovascular health. According to Mente, low sodium intake can cause unintended adverse reactions that actually hurt cardiovascular health.

A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine stopped short of advocating a goal of 2,300 milligrams per day after a committee reviewed recent research.

The committee also concludes that studies on health outcomes are inconsistent in quality and insufficient in quantity to determine that sodium intakes below 2,300 mg/day either increase or decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke or all-cause mortality in the general US population, according to a summary of the institutes report.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/01/fda-issues-guidelines-reducing-sodium-processed-foods

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