New York city is leading a number of cities, states, and national health organizations in the initiative to lower sodium in prepared foods. The goal is to lower added sodium by 25% over the next few years to result in reducing the average American's daily sodium intake by 20%.
Why is it healthy to limit sodium in the diet? Large amounts of sodium on a daily basis contribute to developing high blood pressure in many people. High blood pressure can lead to strokes and kidney failure. Many others have reasons to limit their sodium intake for health reasons involving their heart, lungs, or kidneys.
Is it possible for manufacturers and fast food establishments to make their food with less sodium? Absolutely. Many soups provide a "low sodium" alternative (which means--by FDA regulations--it contains less than 140 milligrams) as well as a "lower sodium" variety (which reduces the original content by a certain percent--perhaps 400 milligrams instead of the usual 600 milligrams--and people often prefer the taste of this to the can with much less sodium).
Many brands of frozen food dinners purposely manufacture their products with less sodium than others, and lots of snack foods like chips, crackers and pretzels have a line of lower salt snacks for those who are interested.
Ideally, over the next couple of years more companies will be featuring lower sodium recipes for their soups, stews, lunchmeats, and fast food burgers. Other countries, including the UK and Canada, have already begun working to reduce their overall sodium content in prepared foods. This initiative could go a long way in reducing the number of people who end up with high blood pressure and the resulting complications.
In the meantime, check your food labels. Do comparison shopping. When you find a similar product with a significantly lower amount of sodium (say, 100 or more milligrams difference) you can begin to reduce your sodium intake with your own initiative!