News / USA

Pressure Mounts in US to Restrict Salt Levels in Processed Foods

Salt is believed to be the single most harmful thing in our food, contributing to high blood pressure
Salt is believed to be the single most harmful thing in our food, contributing to high blood pressure

Multimedia

For years doctors have been telling patients with high blood pressure to cut down on the amount of salt in their diet.  Now a prestigious panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine in Washington wants the U.S. government to put limits on how much salt, or sodium, food manufacturers can use.

It is hard to believe that many of us eat this much salt during one meal or even in one day.  Doctors and nutritionists advise us not to eat more than a teaspoon of salt daily.  That is about 2300 milligrams of sodium.

Salt makes food tastier.  But too much of it can have risky consequences, says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"Salt is probably the single most harmful thing in our food, contributing to high blood pressure," Jacobson explained. "Which causes heart attacks and strokes."

The World Health Organization reports an estimated 17 million people die of heart disease and stroke every year.  

One major risk factor is a diet filled with fat and salt.

Morton Satin of the Salt Institute says salt, or sodium, is not really the culprit. "The problem is not salt," he said. "The problem that we're dealing with is that we don't have a balanced diet."

When the Food and Drug Administration does issue new limits on salt, the changes on the menu and on grocery food labels will take time to implement.  

"Reducing salt in the food supply needs to be a gradual process for a couple of reasons," Dr. Margaret Hamburg said. Hamburg is the commissioner of the FDA. One, we need consumer tastes to adapt to a reduced level.  Also, for industry, salt in the composition of food products, is something that cannot be changed overnight.  They need to rework their recipes."

Some food manufacturers have already begun the process of cutting back on sodium content.  

Meanwhile, the best advice may come from doctors who are advising patients to cut back on salt voluntarily.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs