The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting daily intake of sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less for most of us, and suggest less than 1,500 mg for all African Americans and anyone with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease (including children), as well as persons older than 50.
What I find disturbing is that at a time when high blood pressure and heart attacks, collectively known as heart disease, kill more Americans than several cancers combined, you'd think that our government would take a stronger stance to protect us from the sodium lurking in processed foods.
Previously the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended that salt intake should be below 2,300 mg per day for American adults, but as of a recent article published in the journal Circulation and public call to action, the AHA suggests that consumption of less than 1,500 mg should now be the goal for all Americans, particularly since those risk categories may comprise up to 70% of the population.
One could argue that our health is supposed to be our own personal responsibility. And 'we don't need the government telling us how to eat', right? But shouldn't the government be motivated by saving money and isn't the USDA charged with protecting our health in respect to food safety?
Is it unreasonable to consider that since current health care spending is in excess of $24 billion per year for these preventable conditions it might be wise to urge Americans to get over their dependence on salt and make some serious changes? After all, reducing sodium intake could save up to $24 billion in healthcare costs each year, the AHA noted.