THE American Heart Assn. (AHA) has issued a "presidential advisory" calling for Americans to reduce sodium consumption, summarizing the evidence for its recommendation for individuals to limit their sodium consumption to 1,500 mg per day.
AHA has linked excess sodium consumption to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The advisory also seeks to dismiss "J-shaped associations" that certain interests have reached to question AHA's position and that "have stirred confusion and controversy in the popular press and general population," leading to misunderstanding over the need to curb sodium intake.
AHA said these studies have "serious methodological weaknesses that limit their value."
Americans consume nearly 3,400 mg of sodium per day -- an amount that has remained constant for decades despite efforts by food manufacturers to produce reduced-sodium products and despite health messages urging people to reduce their sodium consumption.
The recommendation in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is for 2,300 mg per day and 1,500 mg for individuals ages 51 and older, who have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease or who are African American. The 1,500 mg recommendation covers half of the U.S. population.