Putting potassium to work reducing sodium

by Jeff Gelski
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SIDEBAR: Agencies stress the need for increased potassium intake

When it comes to potassium, government agencies and the American Heart Association agree: Americans need to increase their intake.

The Food and Drug Administration in the May 27, 2016, issue of The Federal Register said it would require the declaration of potassium on the Nutrition Facts Panel. The changes to the panel must be made before Jan. 1, 2020, by manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales. Adequate potassium intake is beneficial in lowering blood pressure, and intakes of the nutrient are also low among some population groups, according to the F.D.A.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 considers calcium, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin D as nutrients of public health concern because low intakes are associated with health concerns. The guidelines recommends adults consume 4,700 mg of potassium per day. The Institute of Medicine in 2014, however, reported American men consume 2,800 to 3,000 mg of potassium daily on average and women consume 2,200 to 2,400 mg on average each day.

The American Heart Association, Dallas, has stated that foods rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium levels the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.

The A.H.A. goes on to caution that potassium may be harmful in patients with kidney disease, people with any condition that affects how the body handles potassium or those who take certain medications.

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