Study: Inconsistent, Slow Reduction in Sodium Levels in Food

A study by Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC, and colleagues suggest voluntary reductions in sodium levels in processed and restaurant foods is inconsistent and slow.

The study measured the sodium content in selected processed foods and fast-food restaurant foods in 2005, 2008, and 2011. Between 2005 and 2011, the sodium content in 402 processed foods declined by approximately 3.5%, while the sodium content in 78 fast-food restaurant products increased by 2.6%. Although some products showed decreases of at least 30%, a greater number of products showed increases of at least 30%. The predominant finding is the absence of any appreciable or statistically significant changes in sodium content during six years.

“Stronger action (eg, phased-in limits on sodium levels set by the federal government) is needed to lower sodium levels and reduce the prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” the study concluded.

Source: American Medical Association