Nutrition Professionals Believe Consumers Will Be Tied in a Knot Trying to Meet Stricter Sodium Guidelines
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released this week, have everyone scrambling to translate the recommendations into their daily meal planning. However, a recent survey of registered dietitians (RDs) conducted by Pollock Communications, a leader in healthcare, food and nutrition PR, reveals that although over half of RDs rank sodium as negatively as saturated or trans fat, it will be challenging for Americans to adhere to a lower sodium diet. The new Guidelines recommend a limit of 1,500 mg per day for people over 51 years of age, African Americans, and those with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease – a group that collectively makes up about half of the US population. For the general public, the recommendations remain at 2,300 mg per day. Of the over 100 RDs surveyed, about 95% are concerned that eating 1,500 mg of sodium per day is either “unlikely” or “very unlikely” for consumers. Given that the average intake is about 3,400 mg per day, dietitians are calling for better choices from food companies to help bridge the gap.
Pollock Communications tapped its network of registered dietitians to help consumers and food companies make sense of the sodium changes. The survey uncovered that 90% of RDs feel that food companies could do more to help Americans meet the sodium guidelines and cite several examples of companies that are doing well at providing lower sodium options. While they do not support a tax on high sodium foods, nearly half of respondents suggest reductions in sodium in available foods as the primary solution.
“As registered dietitians, we understand that lowering sodium in the diet is a challenge and won’t happen overnight,” says Julie Upton, MS, RD. “Given the potential health benefits associated with sodium reduction, we will help educate consumers about translating the food label into meaningful information, and provide simple substitutions and recipe modifications to help them achieve the recommendations.”
Louise Pollock, President of Pollock Communications adds, “As key influencers in food and nutrition, registered dietitians shape consumer food shopping decisions, affect health policy, impact nutrition trends in the media and promote evidence-based recommendations.” As an organization focused on food, nutrition and healthcare, Pollock Communications always seeks RD expertise when advising food clients. “We will continue to work closely with our internal team of dietitians and RD network to guide consumers and food manufacturers on how to translate and achieve the new public health recommendations.”