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Paul Burke Comment ID #318

Submitted 02/25/2014


Many manufacturers & restaurants provide excellent low sodium products, without harmful additives, in spite of pleas by associations that it is not possible. Examples are below.


1. Manufacturers & restaurants with the lowest sodium in each product category deserve credit & publicity.

2. Producers should be encouraged to have labels which compare sodium content of their product to the range in the product category, just as appliance labels show energy use compared to the range in the product category. For example breads can show the range is 0 to 400 mg sodium per slice & say where each loaf is on that range. Cheese ranges from 10 to 500 mg per ounce, poultry from 50 to 1,000 mg per 3 ounces.

50 mg is quite good for chicken, but not for bread. Few people know the range in any category, and a label can show them. Food manufacturers, like appliance manufacturers, will try to converge at the best end of the range, and get credit and sales when they do. The Guidelines themselves can offer an optional label, designed like appliance labels, which the best producers will adopt. The same design would work for sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

The foods mentioned below would stand out with this kind of a label.


a) Bread with zero sodium is made by and, and nationally distributed through Publix, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and many independent stores. Bread in several flavors with 3-13 mg per slice is made by Restaurants can serve these or have their contract bakeries produce similar loaves.

b) Bouillon with zero sodium makes an excellent soup base and is widely available from Herb Ox (Hormel) and Wyler's (Heinz).

c) Peanut butter and butter with zero sodium are available everywhere, and it is unconscionable that restaurants and even hospitals do not serve them as a default.

d) Yogurt varies from 45-190 mg per serving. Usually the lowest are Fage, Oikos, Yoplait Greek, and Stonyfield nonfat.

e) Most Swiss cheese is low: 10-75 mg per ounce (Boar's Head "no salt added" has 10 mg).

f) Cottage cheese is available with "no salt added" (45-75 mg per half cup) from major chains, listed in attachment.

g) Milk alternatives are available with 5-80 mg per 8 ounces, often with good levels of calcium, listed in attachment.

h) Restaurant oatmeal has low sodium (5-45) at Bob Evans, IHOP, Jamba Juice and Chik-Fil-A, but it is cooked with 100-470 mg per serving at other chains.

i) Restaurant smoothies have low sodium (10-50) at Denny's, Jamba Juice and McDonald's, but not elsewhere.

j) There are hundreds of no salt and low salt packaged foods at and Their founders both had congestive heart failure, took seriously their need to reduce salt, and found foods to eat.


3. Stores and restaurants need to be advised to offer as many foods as possible processed and cooked without salt and sugar. People have salt shakers, sauces and sugar at the table to add what they wish, but people who do not want them cannot remove what is cooked in. Many Chinese food manufacturers and restaurants keep MSG out of the cooking, so others can take the same approach with salt and sugar. Several milk alternatives already have an unsweetened version which is also low in salt, since these manufacturers realize there is a market for a simple product with neither salt nor sugar added.

4. The Dietary Reference Intake for sodium should be 500 mg per day (p.5 of The current figures of 1,500 and 2,300 are levels which cause harm, so they are not even Tolerable Upper Intakes. US Dietary Guidelines 2010 say "association between sodium intake and blood pressure was continuous and without a threshold... blood pressure was... lowered even further when sodium was targeted to the level of 1,200 mg per day" (p.23).

Using the current toxic level as a DRI encourages misleading efforts like the USDA and NIH sample diets (1,472-2,373 mg per day), and, endorsed by the restaurant association, which misdefines "Sodium Savvy" as 750 mg per entree and 250 per side (3 entrees and 5 sides would be 3,500 mg per day).

USDA, NIH, and American restaurants are perfectly capable of creating diets in the range of 500 mg sodium per day. Golden Corral shows the way with a wide range of fruits, vegetables and pasta at 0 mg, many more under 50, and meats and eggs under 130.

5. Explanatory text for sodium needs to present the damage sodium does in bone loss and weakness as well as blood pressure, and needs to highlight the consequences of high blood pressure in blindness, dementia, dialysis, strokes, etc. Most of us are far more concerned about bone fractures, blindness, dementia, dialysis and strokes than blood pressure, and only the experts know these are related.

Affiliation: Other Organization:
  • Food industry approaches to reducing sodium, added sugars, and fats


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