The Food and Drug Administration has updated its guidance on the salt content in foods. The agency is asking food manufacturers to cut the amount of salt in foods, with a goal of decreasing sodium intake by 12%.
Current guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is the equivalent of about one teaspoon of table salt. However, the average person consumes 3,400 mg of sodium every day.
"The targets seek to decrease average sodium intake from approximately 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day, about a 12% reduction, over the next 2.5 years," acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
Most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods.
"We recognize that cutting down on sodium in your diet is hard to do on your own because about 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, packaged, and prepared foods," Susan Mayne, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said.
The goal of the updated guidance is to reduce the number of people who suffer from heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States.
"Lowering sodium levels in the food supply would reduce risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and death in addition to saving billions of dollars in health-care costs over the next decade," the American Heart Association said in a statement. "Many members of the food and restaurant industry have begun to reduce sodium in their products. We strongly encourage the industry as a whole to adopt these targets and build upon existing efforts to reduce sodium in their products and meals.