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    Shaking the Salt Habit continued...

    Robertson says most people who lower their salt intake quickly find that foods that previously tasted OK suddenly taste too salty.

    "If you reduce the salt by even a modest amount, you will find that you are tasting the food more instead of the salt," she says. "This is a very simple thing that would be beneficial to most people. High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart failure and stroke, and reducing salt is an easy way for salt-sensitive people to lower their risk."

    "The food and beverage industry is committed to helping consumers meet the government's Dietary Guidelines recommendations -- including that for sodium," says Scott W. Openshaw, a spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. "Many food companies have reformulated products or reduced the use of sodium in processed foods. Today consumers have available to them a broad range of foods containing no sodium or low sodium, or with no added salt. It is also important to note that food companies have been very successful at making incremental reductions in salt levels in food products over time that are silent to the consumer."

    Openshaw stresses the importance of eating a balanced and healthy diet that's in line with the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid food guidance system.

    "The presence of salt and sodium-containing ingredients are always listed on food labels, and for more than a decade the Nutrition Facts panel has listed the amount of sodium and the percent Daily Value per serving," Openshaw says. "By including more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products in their diets, consumers will see a drop in their sodium intake."

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