Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

New Dietary Guidelines Drastically Cut Salt Intake

Published January 31, 2011

For the first time, the U.S. government is advising that more than half of the American population needs to drastically cut their daily salt intake.

According to new dietary guidelines, those who are most at risk for high blood pressure; including those over the age of 51; African-Americans; those suffering from hypertension; diabetes or chronic kidney disease, which together make up half the U.S. population are being urged to consume only about a half a teaspoon of salt a day.

The Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments issue the guidelines every five years, and recommends that everyone else stick to the "teaspoon a day" guideline of 2,300 milligrams, which is about one-third less than the average person usually consumes.

The assault on salt is aimed strongly at the food industry, which is responsible for the majority of sodium most people consume. Most salt intake doesn't come from the shaker on the table; it's hidden in foods such as breads, chicken and pasta.

It has long been known that too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and other problems. But cutting the salt won't be easy.

The prestigious Institute of Medicine has said it could take years for consumers to get used to the taste of a lower-salt diet. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the government is trying to be realistic while targeting the highest-risk groups.

"I think it's important for us to do this in a way that doesn't create an immediate backlash," he said. "If we fail to get our arms around the obesity epidemic, especially in our children, we're going to see a significant increase in health care costs over time."

Several large food companies have already introduced initiatives to cut sodium and introduced low-sodium alternatives, but it's unclear if the industry will be able to cut enough to satisfy the new guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration has said it will pressure companies to take voluntary action before it moves to regulate salt intake.

Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary at the Health and Human Services Department, said food companies will have to make cuts for the reductions to work.

"Even the most motivated consumer can make only a certain amount of progress before it's clear that we need extra support from the food industry," Koh said.

Consumers still have some control. To reduce the risk of disease from high sodium intake, the guidelines say people should:

-Read nutrition labels closely and buy items labeled low in sodium.

-Use little or no salt when cooking or eating.

-Consume more fresh or home-prepared foods and fewer processed foods, so they know exactly what they are eating.

-Ask that salt not be added to foods at restaurants.

-Gradually reduce sodium intake over time to get used to the taste.

Other recommendations in the guidelines are similar to previous years - limit trans fats, reduce calorie intake from solid fats and added sugars, eat fewer refined grains and more whole grains, consume less than 300 mg per day of cholesterol. The guidelines also recommend eating less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fats - full-fat cheese and fatty meats, for example.

The government promotes these guidelines to consumers by using a symbolic pyramid.

Introduced more than five years ago, it doesn't specify recommended amounts of foods but directs people to a USDA website that details the guidelines. That replaced an old pyramid that specified what to eat after surveys showed that few people followed it.

Vilsack said USDA may come out with a new icon, but that won't be for a few more months. For now, the government wants consumers to focus on the guidelines themselves.

He says the recommendations - coupled with efforts from industry and other government campaigns for healthy eating, such as first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative - should bring about some change in the country's diet.

"I don't think it necessarily has to take a generation or two to see some progress," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/01/31/new-dietary-guidelines-drastically-cut-salt-intake/#

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
President Caboni News
CEBS
CHHS News
Gordon Ford College of Business
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
10K Classic This Saturday

October 21st

WKU's Mary Lloyd Moore appointed to advisory council

Mary Lloyd Moore, executive director of WKU’s Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex, has been appointed to the Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

Kentucky Live presents Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Joel Pett

Joel Pett, publitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist will be speaking at the next Kentucky Live event on October 19.

Featured Articles
Katherine Crider crowned WKU Homecoming queen

Katherine Crider of Dawson Springs was crowned WKU’s 2017 Homecoming queen on Saturday (Oct. 14).

WKU recognizes top volunteers at Summit Awards

WKU recognized its top volunteers at the annual Summit Awards. Distinguished Service Medals to recognize the service of the University’s top volunteers were presented to Julie Harris Hinson, James G. Meyer and Linda S. Miller.

Robert Reich Visits Grise Hall for a Question & Answer Session with Students

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17