Navigation Links
Experts Urge FDA to Lower Salt in American Diet
Date:4/20/2010

U.S. panel says agency should cut levels slowly over next decade to protect public health

TUESDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should take steps to lower the amount of salt in the American diet over the next decade, an expert panel advised Tuesday.

In a report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent agency created by Congress to research and advise the federal government on public health issues, the panel recommended that the FDA slowly but surely cut back the levels of salt that manufacturers typically add to foods.

"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," a news release from the National Academy of Sciences stated.

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 [high blood pressure], heart disease and stroke, and to do so in a gradual way that will assure that food remains flavorful to the consumer."

FDA insiders have said that the agency will indeed heed the panel's recommendations, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The Salt Institute, an industry group, reacted to the news with shock. "Public pressure and politics have trumped science," said Morton Satin, technical director of the institute.

"There is evidence on both sides of the issue, as much against population-wide salt reduction as for it," Satin said. "People who are equally well-known in hypertension are arguing on both sides of the issue."

But Dr. Jane E. Henney, chairwoman of the committee that wrote the report and a professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati, said in a statement that "for 40 years we have known about the relationship between sodium and the development of hypertension and other life-threatening diseases, but we have had virtually no success in cutting back the salt in our diets."

According to the new report, 32 percent of American adults now have hypertension, which in 2009 cost over $73 billion 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.

Reducing salt in the American diet will take some time, Muth said. 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.

There was no debate about the health effects of excess sodium intake, added another committee member, Dr. Robert J. Rubin, clinical professor of medicine at Georgetown University. What we did was to recommend strategies to reduce salt intake consistent with the dietary guidelines for Americans, Rubin said.

One such strategy would have the government check on levels of sodium intake as part of the existing national health survey, he said. Some participants in the survey would be asked to have 24-hour tests that would measure salt content of their urine. They do it in the United Kingdom and other countries, Rubin said.

A federal program will also, "provide companies the level playing field they need so they are able to work across the board to reduce salt in the food supply," the Henney statement said. "Lowering sodium by the food industry in a stepwise, monitored fashion will minimize changes in flavor and still provide adequate amounts of this essential nutrient that are compatible with good health."

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, the IOM panelists said.

New York City has been a leader on the salt issue. In January, the city urged food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce sodium in foods by 25 percent over the next five years. The New York program has been endorsed by a number of cities, including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Reducing salt content while maintaining flavor will be a major challenge for food companies, much greater than reducing calories by cutting sugar. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners are in wide use, but no such salt substitute is currently available.

One expert pointed out that, in the meantime, consumers also face a challenge.

"All nutritionists work at lowering their patients' salt intake," Karen Congro, a nutritionist and director of The Wellness for Life Program at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, said in a statement. "This is a huge problem for people who eat processed food or eat out in restaurants. Anyone who eats more than one or two processed food items per day will get an overdose of salt. Imposing federal standards will encourage food manufacturers to create better products by using other herbs and spices to maintain flavor while reducing salt."

More information

Tips on reducing salt in your diet are given by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Morton Satin, technical director, Salt Institute; April 20, 2010, report, Institute of Medicine; Mary K. Muth, PhD, director of food and agricultural research at RTI International, Research Triangle Park, N.C; Robert J. Rubin, MD, clinical professor of medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C; statement, Karen Congro, RD, nutritionist and director, Wellness for Life Program, Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City; April 20, 2010, statement, National Academy of Sciences; April 20, 2010, Washington Post


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Informatics experts contribute to special Health Affairs edition on e-health in the developing world
2. As Swine Flu Fades, Experts Ponder Next Season
3. Peer Review Experts Have Weighed In ... WEIGHLEVEL Is a Proven Winner
4. Chiropractors at Lyn Lake Chiropractic Clinic Provide Minneapolis, MN, Resource As Official MyFoxTwinCities.com ASK THE EXPERTS Sponsor
5. Experts Issue Warning on Prostate Hormone Therapy
6. Ask the non-experts
7. Experts Push 7 Steps to Heart Health
8. Life-Saving Emergency Supplies and Experts Arrive in Port-au-Prince
9. Transplant infectious disease experts provide pandemic guidance
10. Experts Say CPR by Untrained Bystander a Good Idea
11. Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of ... award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , ... Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may ... to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To ... for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new ... the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce they ... to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers provides ... life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue ... conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" ... The report contains up to date financial data ... analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on the ... analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... on Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , ... Senior Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: