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AHA Applauds FDA and Encourages Further Efforts on Sodium Reduction

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AHA Applauds FDA and Encourages Further Efforts on Sodium Reduction

What a great week to break up with salt! The company that makes Lays chips and Quaker cereal just announced a new commitment to sodium reduction. And, this week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking for feedback on draft voluntary targets for sodium in various foods.

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Draft Voluntary Sodium Targets

This summer, the government released a draft of the first-ever voluntary sodium targets that set goals on how much sodium should be in certain foods. If fully adopted by the food industry, these targets could make foods with more moderate levels of sodium more available.  In feedback to the FDA, the AHA applauded the government for its efforts to reduce sodium consumption. And, AHA also made recommendations to make their efforts more effective.  

A more moderate level of sodium in the food supply can greatly reduce risk for heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. In fact, sodium reductions could save more than 1 million lives and billions of dollars in healthcare costs over the next 10 years.

The draft voluntary sodium targets have two sets of goals: long-term (10-year) and short-term (2-year). The FDA asked for feedback on the short-term targets by October 17. You can see our comments online, and here’s a quick summary of what we recommended:

  • Science shows the need for sodium reduction.
  • We support the targets. And, the FDA may need to go further to help a greater number of Americans eat the recommended amount of sodium.
  • We want the targets to be finalized by the FDA quickly. This way, they can be implemented by the food industry as soon as possible.

Since the voluntary sodium targets have two sets of limits, the FDA is asking for feedback on long-term targets on December 2. We’d like to see the food industry send comments to the FDA in support of sodium reduction!

More Food Companies are Reducing Sodium

With the news this week that another company is committing to reducing sodium in their foods, we know that momentum is building. The company that makes Lays chips and Quaker cereal is committing to limiting sodium to 1.3 milligrams of sodium per calorie in 75% of their foods. That means that a 100-calorie bag of chips will be limited to 130 milligrams of sodium. 

With more food companies supporting sodium reduction, we need your voice to tell the food industry you think sodium reduction is important. You can help this happen by writing to food companies

And in the meantime, here are ten ways you can watch for sodium when you are shopping in the grocery store or at a restaurant:

At the store:

  1. Check out the nutrition label. It’s amazing that similar foods can have a different amount of sodium. Use the nutrition label to choose the food that is lowest in sodium.
  2. Look for “no salt added” on canned foods.
  3. Choose frozen vegetables without salty sauces.
  4. Pick poultry that has not be injected with sodium. If you look at the ingredients list, watch out for items like “broth,” “saline,” or “sodium solution.”
  5. Find foods with the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark. This means that the food meets the AHA sodium criteria. 

When dining out:

  1. Ask for the nutrition information of menu items.
  2. Watch out for foods described on the menu using the words pickled, brined, barbecued, cured, smoked, broth, au jus, soy sauce, miso, or teriyaki.
  3. Request that your order be prepared without additional salt.
  4. Control portion sizes. When you cut calories, you usually cut the sodium too. If smaller portions aren’t available, ask for a to-go box when you order and place half the meal in the box to eat later.
  5. Taste before adding salt. Use ground black pepper or a squeeze of lemon in the place of a dash of salt.

Are you excited for sodium targets? Let us know by commenting on this post!