IOM Report Recommends Reduced Sodium Consumption
An Institute of Medicine nutritional report released Wednesday said that the federal government should reduce the recommended daily allowance of sodium to 1,500 milligrams, a 40% decrease from the current RDA of 2,400 milligrams, the AP/Wall Street Journal reports (AP/Wall Street Journal, 2/12). The report for the first time also recommended a maximum sodium consumption of 5,800 milligrams per day for older individuals and those with chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, who "are especially sensitive to blood pressure-raising effects of salt." Studies have found that U.S. adults consume an average of 4,000 milligrams of sodium per day, 75% of which comes from processed food and food from restaurants. "We don't have our heads in the sand on this one. We realize where we are is quite a distance from where we should be," Lawrence Appel, chair of the IOM committee that wrote the report and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said. The report also said that men should drink an average of 16 cups of fluid per day and women should drink and average of 11 cups per day. According to report, all beverages, which includes those that contain caffeine or alcohol, "can contribute to total water intake ... no one source is essential for physiological function and health" (Squires, Washington Post, 2/12). The 450-page report also recommended an RDA of 4.7 grams of potassium for adults. Most adults would have to eat about 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to meet their RDA for potassium, Appel said (Fackelmann, USA Today, 2/12). FDA uses IOM recommendations on nutrition to calculate RDA percentages found on food labels. Alison Kretser, director of nutrition and scientific policy for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, called the IOM recommendations on sodium RDA "extreme," adding that for "most consumers, a low-sodium diet is unrealistic" (Lynch, San Jose Mercury News, 2/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.