The new recommendations are aimed at food manufacturers and restaurants. Some experts say they don't go far enough.
The Food and Drug Administration, citing an epidemic of food-related diseases, on Wednesday released new guidelines aimed at reducing the amount of sodium Americans consume in restaurants, school cafeterias and food trucks, or when they eat packaged and prepared foods at home.
Recommendations, publie after years of delay, seek to reduce the average daily sodium intake by 12% over the next two and a half years by encouraging food manufacturers, restaurants and foodservice companies to reduce their salt intake. That goal translates into 3,000 milligrams of salt - about a teaspoon - compared to the 3,400 milligrams Americans typically consume per day.
L America's love affair with salty foods has been alarmingly linked to high rates of high blood pressure , a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. More than 4 in 10 American adults have high blood pressure; among the black ults ads, this number is6 out of 10, the F.D.A. said.
Much of this excess sodium, about 70%, comes from processed and packaged foods and meals served in restaurants, according to the researchers .
In a statement announcing the new guidelines, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said this was the first stage of a multi-year campaign aimed at gradually reducing the country's sodium intake so that it aligns more closely with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans , which suggest a healthy diet the diet should contain no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day.
By reducing sodium intake by about 40% over a decade, the FDA says, could save 500,000 lives.
While nutritionists and public health experts praised the FDA for tackling the problem, many said the voluntary measures were unlikely to move the needle much. Some experts have suggested mandatory limits for sodium, although they recognize that the tremendous power of the food industry makes such action unlikely at the federal level.
In a statement, the American Heart Association said the recommendations were an important step in reducing sodium intake, but urged the FDA to lower its daily goal to 2,300 milligrams.
Michael Jacobson, longtime advocate for healthier eating and author of the book "Salt Wars: The Battle Over the Biggest Killer in the American Diet, ”said the F.D.A. finally acted - five years after the agency published its draft guidance . But he lamented that four decades have passed since an F.D.A. The advisory committee first warned of the dangers of excessive salt intake and recommended that steps be taken to reduce its importance in the American diet.
" It 's just very sad to see the government so careless about such a serious health problem, "he said.