A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report has determined that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. adult population should limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day.

According to the CDC’s March 27, 2009, MMWR Weekly, the federal government recommended in 2005 that “all persons with hypertension, all middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks” should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day, and 69.2 percent of adults met these criteria in 2005-2006. The limit for adults without these characteristics remains at 2,300 mg/day, or about one teaspoon.

Because CDC based its estimate of those in the group that should consume less salt on NHANES data, which do not include institutionalized individuals, the CDC cautions that their inclusion “likely would increase the percentage of the population for whom the recommended 1,500 mg/day sodium limit is applicable.” CDC notes, “Most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Only about 5% comes from salt added during cooking and about 6% comes from being added at the table. You can find out how much sodium you are eating by checking the labels on food products and adding up the milligrams of sodium. If at a restaurant, ask for the nutritional information facts that include sodium.”

Meanwhile, U.S. doctors are reportedly puzzled about an apparent increase in the number of children with kidney stones; some blame the problem on consumption of salty foods like cheeseburgers and fries. The director of a bone and mineral disorders clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, is apparently conducting research to determine if the increasing incidence is real or just an artifact of better detection methods. According to a news source, Uri Alon is also studying whether improvements to nutrition can prevent the problem. Evidently, diets high in salt can result in excess calcium in the urine, and without adequate hydration, children can be at risk of developing the painful condition. See Associated Press, March 26, 2009.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.