Americans may have to get used to life with less salt, as the FDA is drafting voluntary guidelines for the food industry to lower sodium levels in food.
As the Associated Press’ Mary Clare Jalonick reports, the Food and Drug Administration is preparing a long-awaited list of voluntary guidelines that aim to reduce the amount salt Americans eat, and in turn, the levels of heart disease and strokes that contribute to thousands of deaths every year. But not to worry: to protect American tastebuds the change will be gradual, and higher-sodium foods like pizza, soup, and pasta won’t suddenly taste bland. (Although the KFC Double Down sandwich, which made a brief comeback last month, would probably cease to exist without the 1,740 milligrams it contains.)
While health groups would prefer mandatory, not voluntary, guidelines, any move to reduce sodium is welcome and “a good first step” in a country where more than one-third of adults are obese — at a cost of $147 billion to the economy. As Jalonick reports, the food industry has made some reductions in salt, but heavy amounts of sodium continue to lurk in processed foods and calorie-laden restaurant meals.