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Reducing Sodium in Restaurant Food Is an Opportunity for Choice

The average American eats out at a fast food or dine-in restaurant almost five times a week. CDC is collaborating with the food industry to reduce sodium in the food supply and providing technical assistance to the public health community for work on sodium reduction, as it is a public health priority. CDC is offering strategies for how health departments and restaurants can work together for sodium reduction and to provide consumers with healthier choices in the report “From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants,” published today in CDC's journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

  • Restaurant food accounts for nearly a quarter of the sodium in the American diet. Restaurants can work with public health in order to provide consumers with the sodium content of their restaurant meals. it is a challenge for consumers to control the sodium content in restaurant food since sodium is already added to meals before they are ordered. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, a leading contributor to heart disease and stroke.
  • One restaurant meal can exceed the recommended amount of sodium for an entire day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg/day for the general population, and on average foods from fast food restaurants contain 1,848 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories and foods from sit down restaurants contain 2,090 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories.
  • The key to sodium reduction in restaurants is Reduce. Replace. Reformulate. Restaurants can rethink how they prepare food and the ingredients they choose to use, so healthier choices become easier choices for consumers. Public Health Departments and restaurants can work together to reduce sodium.

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SOURCE: CDC, January 23, 2014

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