CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Many people already watch how much salt they put on their food. But now, the government is pressuring food companies and restaurants to do the same.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing voluntary guidelines asking the food industry to lower sodium levels. It's not official yet, but it could be by the end of the year.
Beef O Brady's owner Lee Hillman says at his restaurant, salt is a hot item.
"As far as adding extra salt, I see it on almost every table," Hillman said.
The FDA is pressuring food companies and restaurants to cut back on sodium.
"That's tough for food manufacturers because although it effects taste, it also effects how long their products can stay on the shelf," Registered Dietitian Raina Childers said.
Childers says reducing salt in processed foods isn't a bad idea.
"[If you are] 51-years or older, its recommended that you consume 1,500 milligrams or less of sodium a day," said Childers. "If you are younger than 50, then 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day is recommended."
Even though the FDA is just now cracking down on sodium, it's something some locals are already watching out for.
"I look at the label," Jim Dinkins said.
Dinkins says his doctor told him to cut back.
"Since I have hypertension and high blood pressure, I am restricted and he says I should not add any salt to my food," Dinkins said.
"I watch it more now than ever, I mean, I'm not a spring chicken anymore," Rick Janet said.
Janet says he even has a little trick that keeps him from reaching for that salt shaker.
"Things that I used to salt, now I just pepper," said Janet. "I pepper the heck out of everything. And I don't miss salt as much."
Childers says too much salt in your diet could lead to cardiovascular disease.
She says if you're eating too much sodium, try cutting back on the salt when cooking and try to eat less processed foods.