Health Group Sweet on Salt Restrictions

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    The Institute of Medicine is calling on the government to mandate sodium reduction.

    The Institute of Medicine is calling on the government to mandate sodium reduction.

    From margaritas to margherita pizza, just about everything we eat has salt. Studies show that Americans eat 1.5 teaspoons of salt every day, more than twice the amount of sodium the body needs.

    From Salt to Yet More Salt

    [DFW] From Salt to Yet More Salt
    A group is calling for the government to mandate sodium reduction. (Published Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010)

    But too much taste can lead to high blood pressure and a myriad of other health problems.

    "Those things can lead to things like congestive heart failure, heart attacks (and) strokes in the long term," said Dr. Michael Fawcett, of Texas Health Dallas. "Clearly our society consumes too much salt. All you have to do is walk through our waiting room and see the bags of potato chips."

    The head of the Food and Drug Administration said the agency is working with food producers to voluntarily lower the sodium in foods. But the Institute of Medicine wants mandatory national standards for the sodium content.

    But the idea that doesn't sit well with some restaurant owners.

    Baines Brooks of Two Rows and Los Cabos Restaurants said customers should have the ultimate say in spicing up a plate, not the government.

    "They (customers) tell us if something is too spicy," he said. "They tell us if something is too garlicky. Our customers tell us that -- they're not going to eat food that's too salty."

    The FDA has not made any sodium limitations mandatory.