Oct 13, 2021 1 min, 53 secs

"What we'd like to see is the food industry gradually lower the sodium content" in the most common foods, Dr.

The goal, Woodcock said, is to slash rates of heart disease, the country's No.

Reducing sodium in the diet ultimately "would have a major impact on hypertension, heart disease and stroke," she said.

“We recognize that cutting down on sodium in your diet is hard to do on your own, because about 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, packaged and prepared foods,” Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said on a media call Wednesday.

While that goal wouldn’t reach the recommended daily intake of 2,300 mg of sodium, outside experts said the guidance is a good first step to address high blood pressure, which affects nearly half of all U.S.

Marlene Schwartz, the director of the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, said, "The benefit of having the government set this goal and put the pressure on is that you have a better chance that everybody is going to make the changes.".

The guidance will apply to more than 160 categories of processed, packaged and prepared food — including tomato sauce, dairy products and breakfast cereals — as well as meals from chain restaurants, Woodcock said.

Different food categories will have different sodium target levels.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Peter Lurie, president of one of the highest-profile food industry watchdog groups, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the FDA guidance is likely to be "the single most effective intervention that the American government could take at the present time.".

His group has been pushing for lower levels of added sodium in foods for decades, stressing that high levels of sodium are pervasive in packaged foods.

As sodium builds up, the kidneys become less efficient at ridding the body of excess fluid, leading to high blood pressure.

In her experience treating clients, it takes only a few days for a person's taste buds to acclimate to foods with much less sodium, she said

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