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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364006

Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Title: Assessing Changes in Sodium Content of Selected Popular Commercially Processed and Restaurant Foods: Results from the USDA:CDC Sentinel Foods Surveillance Program

Author
item Ahuja, Jaspreet
item LI, YING - University Of Maryland
item HAYTOWITZ, DAVID - Retired ARS Employee
item BAHADUR, RAHUL - University Of Maryland
item Pehrsson, Pamela
item COGSWELL, MARY - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2019
Publication Date: 7/30/2019
Citation: Ahuja, J.K., Li, Y., Haytowitz, D., Bahadur, R., Pehrsson, P.R., Cogswell, M. 2019. Assessing Changes in Sodium Content of Selected Popular Commercially Processed and Restaurant Foods: Results from the USDA:CDC Sentinel Foods Surveillance Program. Nutrients. 11(8), 1754. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081754.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081754

Interpretive Summary: High sodium intake has been linked to increased chronic disease risk, especially to cardiovascular disease. Most Americans consume more sodium than recommended, and most sodium in the diet comes from commercially processed and restaurant foods to which sodium/salt has been added prior to consumer purchase. This report provides an update from the USDA-CDC Sentinel Foods Surveillance Program that monitors sodium and related nutrients (energy, potassium, total and saturated fat, and total sugar) in 125 popular, sodium-contributing, commercially processed and restaurant foods with added sodium. In 2010-2013, we obtained 3,432 samples nationwide and chemically analyzed 1,654 composites plus label information for 125 foods, to determine baseline laboratory and label sodium concentrations, respectively. In 2014-2017, we re-sampled and chemically analyzed 43 of the Sentinel Foods (1,181 samples), tested changes of at least ± 10% for significance (p<0.05), in addition to tracking changes in labels for 108 Sentinel Foods. Our results show that the label sodium levels of majority of the Sentinel Foods had not changed since baseline (~1/3rd of the products reported changes, with twice as many reductions as increases). Laboratory analyses of the 43 Sentinel Foods shows that 8 foods had significant changes (p<0.05); sodium content continues to be high and variable, and there is no consistent pattern of changes in related nutrients. Continued efforts are needed by the food manufacturers to lower the sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods, and for public health officials to monitor the progress. Further, the study provides a better understanding of the complexity of sodium monitoring, which may help public health officials to develop strategies to reduce and monitor sodium trends in the food supply.

Technical Abstract: This report provides an update from the USDA-CDC Sentinel Foods Surveillance Program, exploring changes in sodium and related nutrients (energy, potassium, total and saturated fat, and total sugar) in popular, sodium-contributing, commercially processed and restaurant foods with added sodium. In 2010-2013, we obtained 3,432 samples nationwide and chemically analyzed 1,654 composites plus label information for 125 foods, to determine baseline laboratory and label sodium concentrations, respectively. In 2014-2017, we re-sampled and chemically analyzed 43 of the Sentinel Foods (1,181 samples), tested changes of at least ± 10% for significance (p<0.05), in addition to tracking changes in labels for 108 Sentinel Foods. Our results show that the label sodium levels of a majority of the Sentinel Foods had not changed since baseline (~1/3rd of the products reported changes, with twice as many reductions as increases). Laboratory analyses of the 43 Sentinel Foods shows that 8 foods had significant changes (p<0.05); sodium content continues to be high and variable, and there was no consistent pattern of changes in related nutrients. Comparisons of changes in labels and laboratory sodium shows consistency for 60% of the products, i.e. similar changes (or no changes) in laboratory and label sodium content. The data from this monitoring program will help public health officials to develop strategies to reduce and monitor sodium trends in the food supply.