Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released voluntary guidelines that aim to limit sodium added by restaurants and food manufacturers in foods that are purchased. This will ensure that your daily intake of sodium is not more than 3000 mg/day. Table salt is the main source of sodium. Americans average 3,400 mg of sodium daily. FDA cites the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guides for Americans as a reason for their guidance. This guideline advises people aged 14 and over to consume a maximum of 2,300mg/day. It is just a tiny bit more than a teaspoon per day.
FDA does not want to go that far. This is what the FDA explains
The guidance is intended to reduce Americans’ sodium intake by encouraging restaurants and food producers to reduce the sodium content of their food over time. We recognize that even though a decrease of 3,000 mg/day would still be above the 2,300 mg/day recommended limit, these 2.5-year goals aim to equalize the need to reduce sodium in large and progressive ways and the market and technical constraints.
Limiting salt intake is intended to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure in Americans. According to the FDA, nutrition experts agree that these limits are necessary in order to achieve their goals. This “consensus” area of research is highly disputable and contradicts a lot of new data.
Take, for instance, the June 2021 study by The European Heart JournalThe average daily sodium intake for 181 countries was examined and found that an increase in this consumption is associated with higher life expectancy and lower rates all-cause death.
An accompanying editorial noted that more than a dozen recent epidemiological studies have shown that the low sodium intake recommended by the FDA compared with the current average consumption is “not associated with lower risk of cardiovascular events and mortality, and may even be associated with an increased risk.” One study showed that an average intake between 3,000 to 5,000mg/day is optimal, while higher and lower amounts are associated with increased mortality and heart disease. The editorial states that the outcome of several randomized trials on sodium restriction will be available later in the year. These results “will hopefully clarify whether sodium reduction should or not be recommended” and, if it is, what the best range of sodium intake to support human health.
This study only provides observational evidence for the population. There is ample research to support the conclusion that sodium intake can reduce blood pressure. This applies especially for hypertension patients. It is most likely the case that some subset of Americans may be especially salt sensitive and would benefit from consuming less. It is important to develop better testing methods that can identify these people, so the rest of us may enjoy our salt in moderation. You must be mindful of your diet and exercise if you want to preserve your health.