(CNN) – The United States Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it would be lower sodium goals in processed, packaged and prepared foods, but not at levels recommended to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The guidelines issued by the FDA relate to voluntary targets for foods produced by food manufacturers, restaurants and food service operators.
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“The goals are to reduce the average sodium intake from about 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day, or a reduction of about 12%, over the next 2.5 years,” said the Acting Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Janet Woodcock and the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied. Director of Nutrition Susan Mayne said in a statement.
“While the average intake is still above the limit recommended by the dietary guidelines for Americans of 2,300 mg per day for those 14 and older, we know that even these modest reductions – made slowly over the next few years – will dramatically reduce disease, improve the health of the population as a whole, and reduce the burden of health care costs in this country. “
The American Heart Association also recommends not to exceed 2300 mg per day, but recommends an “ideal limit” of 1500 mg per day.
In 2016, the FDA released draft guidelines suggesting a limit of 2,300 mg per day. The agency said it was working with the food industry. “In the future, we plan to publish revised and subsequent goals to gradually reduce sodium content to further reduce sodium intake,” the FDA said.
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“Because the average American eats so much excess sodium, even a reduction of 1,000 milligrams per day can dramatically improve blood pressure and heart health,” the Heart Association said. on his sodium webpage. The Heart Association claims that consuming too much salt can increase blood pressure, which in turn causes heart disease, strokes, and kidney disease.
According to the FDA, most people eat more sodium than recommended, and over 95% of children between the ages of two and 13 eat more sodium than recommended.
The new voluntary guidelines will apply to food manufacturers. According to the FDA, about 70% of the sodium people eat comes from prefabricated or packaged foods, “which makes it difficult to limit sodium,” Woodcock and Mayne said.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year from chronic diseases linked to unhealthy eating, and by some estimates the total economic costs are one trillion dollars per year,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the US department. of Health and Social Services. .
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to ensure everyone has access to safe and nutritious food. Improving the quality of food and nutrition is not only important for improving individual health outcomes, it is an essential step in addressing widespread health disparities, ”he said. he declares.
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