You may have heard the news that Hypertension Canada, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to the prevention and control of high blood pressure, is recommending that the daily sodium intake level be raised 2000 mg per day. Apparently, a task force of blood pressure experts reviewed the latest evidence and proposed the change after significant debate.
It is yet to be seen whether Hypertension Canada’s recommendation will become official federal government policy in Canada and the U.S. through a revision to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes which still tell healthy middle aged adults aged to aim for 1500 mg of sodium per day.
In case anyone is confusing this updated recommendation with a free pass to up their sodium intake… not so fast. The average Canadian already consumes 3400 mg per day, which is 1.5 times this new sodium target. That’s the amount of sodium in seven cheeseburgers!
The reality is that most Canadians are already overdoing it on salt, so reducing our intakes to 2000 mg per day would actually be a big improvement. Plus, Hypertension Canada’s recommendation for the daily sodium limit (2300 mg) didn’t change. Too much sodium will still increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, a precursor to a range of health conditions.
With the average sit-down restaurant meal in Canada having nearly 2300 mg of sodium in it, there’s no question that menu labelling could help us make better choices when dining out. We’ve heard that calories will soon be required on Ontario menus, but the province is completing consultations before deciding whether other nutrition numbers will be needed as well.
Savvy Diners can be assured that we are working hard to push for sodium to be included in the proposed legislation. And now… you can tell the Minister of Health (through an online public survey) how you feel about seeing calorie and sodium information on restaurant menus too. We hope you’ll take the time to share your thoughts on being a Savvy Diner!