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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans quantitative recommendation of < 2,300 mg/d is consistent with the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Tolerable Upper Intake Level for sodium for adults as established by the report Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, andSulfate (IOM, 2005). Further, the IOM report identifies the need for public health strategies to reduce sodium intake as well as the development of alternative processing technologies to reduce the sodium content of foods. The report suggests that special attention be given to maintaining flavor, texture, consumer acceptability, and low cost.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 20081 targeted to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to undertake a study through the IOM of the National Academies “to examine and make recommendations regarding various means that could be employed to reduce dietary sodium intake to levels recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” CDC was joined by several other federal agencies in supporting this study, including the Food and Drug Administration; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
The statement of task for the committee charged with carrying out this study is found in Box 1-1.
As part of its general task, the committee was requested to address
dietary intake of sodium and the primary sources of sodium for the U.S. population overall;
understandings about the physiology of taste and sensitivity, and their interface with consumer behavior and taste preferences;
functions of sodium in foods and how these functions relate to product development, consumer preferences, and health;
factors that could affect sodium reduction strategies;
potential of food technology to develop innovative alternatives to current sodium use in processed foods, taking into account the physiology of taste as well as consumer behaviors and preferences;
potential unanticipated consequences;
sodium reduction efforts in other countries;
policy levers such as regulation (including labeling), investment of public monies, education, incentives, support for local capac-