WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Put down those french fries. According to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans consume too much sodium.
The study states that only a small amount of sodium is needed per day, but Americans keep pouring it on. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major factor for heart disease and stroke.
The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,500 milligrams per day and no more than 2,300 milligrams.
A related Canadian study compared six fast-food chains and found the food to be saltier in the United States than in its counterpart in another country.
The Canadian study found that in some cases the difference was much more dramatic than in others. For example, it found that Burger King’s Double Whopper differed by 20-30 percent from country to country. It than found that McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets sold in the United States has two-and-a-half times the sodium than McNuggets sold in other countries.
The study, though, did not show what accounted for these variations.
“There are challenges not identified by this study,” Dr. Joy Dubost, director of nutrition for the National Restaurant Association, said in a statement to CNN.
Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major factor for heart disease and stroke.
The IOM recommends a gradual, industry-wide sodium reduction in both packaged and restaurant food.
“People would acclimate to the change slowly and wouldn’t even notice it,” Dr. Gary Beauchamp, who served on the IOM committee, said in the report, according to CNN.
Dr. Norm Campbell, a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary, agrees.
“Most of the science says if you reduce salt by 10 percent it’s completely unnoticeable,” he told CNN.
Danya Proud, a spokesperson for McDonald’s, pointed out that some fast-food chains have begun to cut back on the sodium they use.
“We are also listening to our customers, to ensure we continue to evolve to meet their taste and nutrition expectations,” she told CNN.
Nearly 400,000 Americans die each year from high blood pressure.