FDA releases new guidelines to lower Americans daily salt intake

Published: October 26, 2021 5:26 PM EDT
Updated: October 26, 2021 8:02 PM EDT

Even those who believe they’re eating healthy could see that salt is “sneaking” into their diets. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released updated guidelines that aim to reduce Americans’ daily salt intake.

The FDA wants restaurants and food manufacturers to cut back on the amount of salt added and demands that citizens take accountability as well.

Salt is a staple in all of our kitchens but many health experts agree that we need to lighten up on its usage. Dr. Sal Lacagnina works in internal medicine. “High blood pressure is such a common problem that we see, on a daily basis and a lot of it is associated with salt intake,” Dr. Lacagnina said.

The FDA wants Americans’ salt intake to be lowered to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. That might be easier said than done when there is salt hiding in some of our favorite foods including bread, cheese, lunch meats and even soup.

“Half of the can is one serving- so 1 serving is 740 mg of sodium. so that’s half of the daily allowance,” said Lacagnina.

Another surprising food that contains salt is chocolate. Sodium varies depending upon the type of chocolate, of course. “In one serving, which is really just a couple of pieces, it’s got 550 mg of salt in it… in there. So, you think that just a few pieces of chocolate are not too bad for you, but if you do this on a regular basis…” Dr. Lacagnina said.

If you do this on a regular basis, it all adds up. while none of these items may bust your entire salt budget for the day, they could become problematic if you have underlying conditions. For example, if you have risk factors for heart disease these could be problematic. So, doctors recommend paying attention, reading your labels and watching what you eat.

“Now it’s really interesting to learn that most of the salt doesn’t come from the salt shaker that you use at home. Most of it comes from processed foods,” Dr. Lacagnina said.

Also, make sure to check the serving size. Many of us eat the entire candy bar or can of soup and the label data is measured per portion.