ATLANTAThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday a new report to help health departments and restaurants to work together to offer healthier choices for consumers who want to lower sodium intake.
The report, From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants," outlines several ways health departments and restaurants have worked together to offer lower-sodium choices:
- Health department dietitians help restaurants analyze the sodium content of their foods and recommend lower-sodium ingredients.
- Restaurants clearly post nutrition information, including sodium content, at the order counter and on menus or offer lower-sodium items at lower cost.
- Health departments and restaurants explain to food service staff why lower sodium foods are healthier and how to prepare them.
The report also features examples of sodium reduction successes. In Philadelphia, the health department worked with 206 restaurants to create the Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-out Initiative." After nine months, analyses of two popular dishes offered by 20 of the restaurants showed sodium was reduced by 20%.
The bottom line is that its both possible and life-saving to reduce sodium, and this can be done by reducing, replacing and reformulating," said CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. When restaurants rethink how they prepare food and the ingredients they choose to use, healthier options become routine for customers."
Americans eat out at fast food or dine-in restaurants four or five times a week; on average, foods from fast food restaurants contain 1,848 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories and foods from dine-in restaurants contain 2,090 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories.
The U. S. Dietary Guidelines recommend the general population limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. However, a recent CDC report shows the majority of the U.S. population consumes excess sodium. Exceeding recommended amounts can cause high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.