IOM Urges U.S. FDA To Regulate Salt In Food - Jane Henney Chair
The report is called Strategies To Reduce Sodium Intake In The United States.
Despite many health education campaigns Americans still have too high a sodium intake. Most of this sodium intake is from salt added to food both at the table but more commonly in bought food products where salt is added as part of manufacturing process.
High Salt Diet Increases Risk Of High Blood Pressure and Strokes
The IOM report highlights how high sodium intake increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, strokes, and kidney stones. The IOM believes that the evidence shows that just telling people to cut back on salt in the diet has not and will not work. They feel that regulation of added salt levels needs to introduced if the US is to cut the high levels of disease and death that high salt and sodium intake contributes to.
In a prepared statement, the chair of the IOM panel, Jane Henney of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio, said:
"For 40 years we have known about the relationship between sodium and the development of hypertension and other life threatening diseases, but we have had virtually no success in cutting back the salt in our diets. The best way to accomplish this is to provide companies the level playing field they need so they are able to work across the board to reduce salt in the food supply."
Some food manufacturers and retailers worry that a forced change in salt content of foods will lead to poor sales and profit falls if introduced too quickly. The IOM agree that a staged reduction would help the American public adjust their palates to less salt gradually and avoid such market problems.
The government's Institute of Medicine called Tuesday for mandatory national standards for sodium content in processed foods and restaurant menus, saying current salt levels in such products are too high to be safe.
Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which the Institute of Medicine, one of the National Academies of Sciences, in February declared a "neglected disease" that costs the U.S. health system $73 billion a year.