December 14, 2018

CSPI Estimates 400,000 Preventable Deaths from Salt Since 2010

Four years ago, the Institute of Medicine asked the FDA to set limits on sodium levels allowed in processed food. The FDA has still not acted on those recommendations. Excess sodium is linked to stroke, heart attack, and other health problems. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) states that “if Americans had cut their sodium intake in half beginning in April 2010, as many as 400,000 lives might have been saved.”

Salt ShakerCSPI health promotion policy director Jim O’Hara said, “FDA would probably act in a heartbeat if experts found that an unsafe drug or medical device was responsible for 100,000 deaths a year, but it is tolerating a deadly level of sodium in our food supply. While this Administration talks about the need for healthy eating, it is failing to pursue a policy that would create a food environment in which Americans routinely make healthier choices.”

CSPI has a running total of the Americans killed by high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease at their page “Salt’s Deadly Toll“. Most Americans consume 4,000 mg of sodium every day. The daily recommended amount is 2,300 mg, about as much as a teaspoon of salt.

More than 3/4 of that 4,000 mg comes from processed and restaurant food.  People over age 50, those with high blood pressure, and African-Americans should consume only 1,500 mg of sodium per day. CSPI also has an infographic about where the sodium lurks in our food, including some appalling numbers in restaurant choices. For instance, Denny’s Grand Slamwich with hash browns alone has 3,690 mg of sodium, and Applebee’s Reuben with Fries has a whopping 6,010 mg of sodium in each serving.

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