With Americans consuming 50 percent more salt than recommended, the FDA issued voluntary guidelines on Wednesday that would reduce sodium content in packaged and restaurant food, the major source of salt in the diet. The FDA said guidelines might "become one of the most significant public health nutrition interventions in a generation."
A USDA report says that when food companies reformulate their products to reduce the salt and sugar content, the fat content, which can raise blood cholesterol, tends to go up, says the Washington Post.
Sea salt from around the world is often contaminated with microplastics, according to several studies that examined sea salt in the UK, France, Spain, China and the U.S. “Researchers believe the majority of the contamination comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles, items that comprise the majority of plastic waste,” says The Guardian, adding that the United Nations estimates that one garbage truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute.
After 44 years as president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson is stepping down. During his long tenure, Jacobson not only helped develop nutrition labels, he “has also had a hand in halting the marketing of many sugar-filled foods to children, reducing salt levels in packaged foods, and banning transfats,” says NPR.
Fast food regularly is blamed for contributing to rising obesity rates because it is typically high in fat and salt, says CNN’s The Conversation. And because it’s relatively inexpensive, poor people get the rap of eating too much fast food, though research shows all income groups enjoy a …
A long-running study "reports that lowering sodium intake doesn't reduce blood pressure," says the San Diego Tribune. The results are contrary to long-accepted medical advice and suggest that most Americans consume healthy amounts of salt, the most common form of sodium.
In a study carried out as part of a simulation of space travel to Mars, an international team of scientists found that salty diets resulted in less water consumption and a higher demand for food.
A state appeals court upheld New York City's requirement for chain restaurants to alert diners to foods that contain more than the recommended daily dose of salt, about one teaspoonful, said The Associated Press. The National Restaurant Association said it was considering its next move on the regulation.
The director or co-director of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest for 45 years, Michael Jacobson, 73, will change jobs next September to become CSPI's chief scientist. Jacobson was active in campaigns to put the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, to eliminate trans fats from processed foods and to force the government to set guidelines on salt in food.
The portion of the U.S. population that is overweight or obese keeps growing larger - literally - and some experts say the "food environment" is a reason, says Vox, citing Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness. "[I]n America," says Kahan, "the unhealtiest foods are the tastiest foods, the cheapest foods, the largest-portion foods, the most available foods and the most fun foods."
The FDA called on foodmakers and restaurateurs to reduce sharply the amount of salt in their products to help Americans avoid high blood pressure and the risk of chronic illness. The food industry balked, saying it already has low-salt products on sale and that the science on healthy salt levels was not as clear as the government says.
Consumers are turning to foods they shunned a few years ago, says the New York Times: "Under the new thinking, not all fat is bad and neither are all salty foods. A stigma among the public remains for sugar substitutes but less so for cane sugar, at least in moderation. And all of those things are weighed against qualities like simplicity and taste."
The Obama administration will propose voluntary levels on sodium in processed foods as early as this summer, in "one of its last fights with Big Food," says Politico, citing current and former administration officials.
People consume more calories, sugar, fat, and salt when they go to a restaurant, whether it's full service or a fast-food outlet, says a study in the journal Public Health Nutrition.