Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2007.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long classified salt as a substance “generally recognized as safe,” a designation that necessitates little oversight or regulation. With sodium playing a significant role in blood pressure and heart disease, however, the American Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the FDA to revoke this classification and to limit the amount of salt companies are allowed to add to foods. Though only about 10 percent of salt consumption comes from what we add to our own meals, a whopping 75 to 80 percent of Americans’ daily sodium intake comes from processed foods. The AMA asked the FDA to improve the labeling system—making sodium content in food more understandable—and to cut the amount of sodium in processed foods and restaurant meals by 50 percent over the next ten years.