North Americans are getting plenty of — and often consuming too much — sodium, and may benefit from reducing sodium intake.
This is one conclusion of a report put out by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine after a review of the current guidelines for sodium (which were established in 2005) and the latest research on sodium intake.
The review committee looked at evidence on chronic disease risk and any links to sodium, and a related nutrient, potassium. From the report:
“Potassium and sodium are interrelated, essential nutrients that play vital roles in the body to maintain physiological homeostasis. Both nutrients have been linked to risk of chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease. Additionally, a possible association of sodium intake with other adverse health outcomes has been suggested. The coexistence of essentiality with a relationship to adverse health effects, including chronic disease, called for a new approach to establishing intake recommendations for potassium and sodium within the context of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).”
Based on the committee’s findings, the DRIs — specifically the Adequate Intakes (AI) — were revised for sodium and potassium. For sodium, some AIs remained the same, some were lowered, and some were raised.
The committee did not find sufficient evidence of acute toxicity levels for sodium or potassium intake and declined to establish an Upper Limit (UL) for either. However, the committee did propose establishing a new category of DRIs based on chronic disease, called the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intakes (CDRRs). The CDRR differs from the UL in that it suggests reducing intake to stave off long-term issues.
For example, women age 31-50 years, the AI is 1,500 mg of sodium per day. The CDRR is “reduce intakes if above 2,300 mg/day.”
The committee didn’t establish CDRRs for potassium, although they lowered the potassium AIs. The full chart for the new values can be found here.
Changes in ESHA Programs
All ESHA programs have been updated with the latest DRIs for sodium and potassium. You will see changes in certain nutrition analysis reports that compare the recipe totals to the DRI standards for specific age groups (such as the Bar Graph and Multi-Column reports). Food Processor will use the new DRIs to calculate the recommended intakes for your clients. There will be no change to values on Nutrition Facts labels generated in the ESHA programs as the Nutrition Labels use %DV values.