Four salt shakers, one spilled

How much salt is too much?

March 7, 2019

Eric Decker, food science, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that reviewed guidelines for daily sodium and potassium intake and has issued new guidelines for dietary consumption. For the first time, the NAS has tied overuse of sodium to chronic disease, saying that people getting more than 2,300 milligrams a day should reduce their sodium intake to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. The Boston Globe quotes Decker in their coverage of the new guidelines. 


From New recommendations underline health importance of reducing sodium intake: 

“The more you can decrease the more benefit,” said University of Massachusetts Amherst head of food science Eric Decker, who was one of 13 members of the NAS Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. 

The committee reviewed existing research in the United States and Canada, excluding less credible research, Decker said. 

The committee found most people should consume between 2,300 and 3,400 milligrams of potassium a day, but it recommended lower amounts for infants: 400 milligrams daily for infants 0-6 months; 860 milligrams daily for infants 7-12 months; and 2,000 milligrams daily for children ages 1-3.

Decker said it is widely known that food consumption affects health, but more research is needed. 

“The frustrating thing about these processes and these recommendations is the government doesn’t really fund the kind of studies and assessment needed for dietary intake,” Decker said. “There just isn’t a lot of good data out there.” 


Infographic showing average American sodium intake at 3400 mg as opposed to recommended intake of 2300 mg

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