Public health experts from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday to force food makers to gradually decrease the amount of sodium in products.
The 1.5 teaspoons of sodium Americans consumer daily-most of which comes from processed foods-is more than double the amount they require for positive health and could increase the risk of high blood pressure and other problems, the Associated Press reported.
(IOM) said the food industry hasn’t done enough to reduce sodium and asked the FDA to set maximum sodium levels for different foods in a stepwise rollback, so consumers have time to adjust to the change.
While the FDA has yet to make a decision “no options are off the table,” said FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott. “There is no initiative at the moment,” she said. But, “there is very little debate any longer over the impact sodium has.”
Currently, government guidelines are set at 2,300 milligrams of sodium as the maximum daily intake – the amount above which health problems can appear. People require just 1,500 milligrams a day-less if they’re over 50, yet the average consumer takes in about 3,400 milligrams a day, according to the IOM.
Major foods makers have started reducing sodium in recent years, but have argued they don’t have ways to keep products tasty if huge cuts are made to sodium levels. They fear consumer backlash as the taste changes.