Too much salt can harm health. A high salt diet increases the risk of high blood pressure. This may lead to heart disease and stroke. For people with diabetes, blood pressure that is too high increases risk of eye, nerve and kidney disease. People living in the United States consume on average 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. This is much more than the 2,300 mg limit recommended for people 14 years and older. Limits for children 13 and younger are even lower. We know that more than 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. That number increases to almost 6 in 10 for Black adults. Additionally, about 1 in 10 children (8-12 years) and 1 in 8 teens (13-17 years) has high blood pressure.

Processed food has too much salt

New recommendations from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) suggest that daily salt consumption should drop further to below 3,000 mg each day. This is still above the recommended level, but any reduction helps. Most salt in our food comes from processed, packaged, and prepared foods, and not from salt added to food when cooking or eating. This makes it difficult to control how much sodium we consume. The FDA asked food manufacturers and restaurants to cut the salt content in processed and take-out foods. Examples of these types of foods include deli-meat sandwiches, pizza, burritos, tacos, soups, savory snacks, pasta dishes, burgers and egg dishes – all common food choices in the U.S. Some high-salt foods, such as dried fish, do not contribute as much to overall sodium intake because they typically are not consumed in large quantities nor as often.

Less salt means fewer heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes complications

The benefit of limiting salt intake is estimated to be tens of thousands fewer cases of heart disease and strokes each year. In addition, decreasing salt intake means saving billions of dollars in health care spending over time.


Photo by Rawpixel