February 22, 2019
Woman shopping in supermarket
Health News

Less Sodium in Packaged Foods

by Berkeley Wellness  

The average sodium content of U.S. packaged foods declined significantly between 2000 and 2014, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine,which followed a large nationally representative sample of households.

Most of the sodium we consume comes from packaged foods (including beverages), so the FDA and public health officials have encouraged food companies to reduce levels in their products.

The study found that, over this 15-year period:

• Sodium in packaged food purchases dropped nearly 400 milligrams per day per person (from 2,363 to 1,967), on average.

• Sodium declined 12 percent per ounce of food purchased, on average.

• Sodium declined about 8 percent per 100 calories of food, on average.

• Sodium declined across all major food sources.

The study did not look at food purchased at restaurants.

Despite these improvements, packaged foods continue to supply excessive amounts of sodium, and thus further reductions are needed, the authors concluded. “The slow rate of decline in sodium from store-bought foods suggests that more concerted sodium reduction efforts are necessary.” The most recent data show that the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, while the recommended total daily limit is 2,300 milligrams, the amount in a little more than a teaspoon of salt.

Also see How to Shake the Salt Habit.