July 3, 2010

Should Sodium Content in Food Be Regulated?

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:49 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

An article on the AARP website (Mandate Salt Content in Processed Food, Sodium in Diet? – AARP Bulletin) has brought up some interesting points on the war against sodium.  According to their article, the FDA has stepped in to ask major food companies to lower their salt content.  Plus, the Department of Agriculture has recommended lowering the sodium intake dietary guidelines from 2300mg per day to 1500mg.  Currently 1500mg is the daily limit only for people with hypertension and heart failure.

Before I get into too much detail about the fight to reduce America’s sodium, let’s review why salt is bad.

  • Too much salt can cause high blood pressure in high risk people
  • Studies have shown that a high salt diet increases the risk of heart attack
  • Excess salt can cause worsening heart failure
  • Processed meats with high salt increase the risk of heart problems

Are there people who should have a high salt diet?  Believe it or not the answer is yes.  Some patients have problems with very low blood pressure and they can pass out if it gets too low.  This select group of patients can add salt to their food without much guilt.

For the rest of the population though, reducing salt is not harmful.  The easiest ways to avoid too much sodium is to cook at home using fresh or frozen ingredients.  Anything canned, fast food or processed will put your salt intake over the edge.  Our modern-day lives make it almost impossible to cook at home for every meal so why not urge the big food companies to lower their salt content?  I do not think it is necessary to force sodium limits but a nudge in the right direction seems beneficial for nearly all.  What do you think?  Vote in the poll and give us your opinion!

1 Comment

  1. Bob said,

    God dedicated at least 20% of our tongue to tasting salt. It must be important. Unless you already have hypertension or heart failure,…..salt is good for you. 🙂

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