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Sodium reduction


Although it is important for the food industry to take action, there is also the need for consumers to be able to change their own habits and take personal responsibility. Having an alternative to sodium would be useful to facilitate that. Conversely, while it is found that people are getting excessive amounts of sodium in their diets, they are not getting enough potassium in their diets, with research suggesting that less than 2% of Americans currently meet the recommended daily amount of potassium intake.


You say chloride…


One of the issues with this was the use of the word “chloride”, when people saw potassium chloride listed on the ingredients as opposed to potassium salt. In recent times there has been more of a push toward sourcing natural ingredients. The term “chloride” sounds very similar to “chlorine” and so there is often the association with people getting their eyes stung while in a swimming pool. This led to people in the industry seeking a change in how it was labelled. Among other companies, NuTek National Ingredients petitioned for the name change to address concerns. Initially, the FDA came back with a compromise – the name could be changed to potassium chloride salt. NuTek did not accept this, presumably because the main concern behind their petition remained unsolved, due to the inclusion of the word “chloride” and the connotations that come with that particular word. The reason why some sodium is needed in our diet is because it controls blood pressure and blood volume. It is also used to ensure that the muscles and nerves in the body function properly. Traditionally, it was also used as a means of preserving food, something that was necessary in the years before refrigeration was widely available. The problem is that because people consume excessive amounts of sodium, this results in an excessive amount of blood pressure, which in turn leads to a range of potential health issues. While potassium offers a number of benefits to the body; it has been shown to reduce blood pressure and prevents the development of kidney stones and osteoporosis. It also helps to prevent dehydration by helping to maintain a better fluid balance.


What about heart vitamins? Many people wonder if nutritional supplements can help prevent heart disease. “The bottom line is, we don’t recommend supplements to treat or to prevent cardiovascular disease,” says Johns Hopkins physician Edgar R. Miller Ph.D., whose research review on the topic has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “The good news is,


Ingredients Insight / www.ingredients-insight.com 85


you don’t have to spend any money on supplements. We found no evidence of benefits to cardiovascular disease,” Miller says. “Supplements were ineffective and unnecessary.” Investigations have shown that too often pills said to contain medicinal herbs are actually full of fillers like powdered rice or even dangerous substances. Some don’t even contain any of the herbs on the labels.


Not only is there no proof of much benefit from supplements, they also often contain unnaturally high doses of limited types of nutrient compounds. There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids (a type of antioxidant), for example, and there are simpler solutions regarding an every day healthy diet.


Thank WHO The World Health Organisation (WHO) has looked into the effects of sodium intake and how it affects people’s health. By their estimation, 17.8 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2017 – 32% of the global deaths at that time. The WHO recommends a <2g/day sodium reduction (5g/day salt) in adults.


“The reason we need some sodium in our diet is because it controls blood pressure and blood volume.”


By removing the stigma that comes with labelling potassium salt as potassium chloride, a barrier has been removed that allows consumers the chance to make an informed decision about what products – whether it be ingredients or supplements – to buy and how their health will be affected. The FDA has taken a bold step to empower consumers to make healthy and sensible food choices. ●


17.8


The estimated number of people who died from cardiovascular diseases in 2017 – 32% of all global deaths at the time.


WHO


million


Many foods contain high levels of sodium, even before consumers add table salt.


Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock.com


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