Digital News Report – A report was put together by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) on the effect of sodium content in food and how it is contributing to hypertension, putting people at risk for developing heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and kidney failure. The IOM report said analysts estimate that 100,000 deaths each year could possibly be saved just by reducing sodium levels in food. Currently there is no legislation that regulates the amount of sodium or salt in foods, but this could change as the government is starting to look at ways to reduce sodium in the American diet.
In 2008, Congress wanted the IOM to put together possible ways to reduce sodium in foods so that people would be at the recommended daily amount of no more than 2,300 mg. On average most Americans eat 3,400 mg of sodium each day. One idea that IOM suggests in the report is for the government to put standards in place to reduce the amount of salt in food over time so that consumer’s taste preferences can adjust to lower sodium foods.
Since the 1970’s sodium intake has increased despite efforts to educate the public about the risk of high intake and heart and kidney disease. Over the last few years, the report said that people have focused more on reducing fat and have pretty much forgot about salt intake and more people are eating pre-made foods and restaurant foods that contain high amounts of sodium.
The report suggests giving the Food and Drug Administration the task of policing the amount of sodium content being put in foods.
There has been a voluntary group of food manufacturers that have been participating in National Salt Reduction Initiative. This has gained some momentum, but is strictly on a voluntary basis. The IOM is suggesting ways for the government to reduce sodium levels with all foods with regulation.