The nation's top 25 restaurant chains failed to reduce sodium levels in almost 3,000 menu items between 2012 and 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"As a whole, the nation's leading restaurants are failing miserably when it comes to their patrons' heart health," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the center. "And, unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has failed for decades to tell the food industry to lower sodium and by how much."
High sodium levels in the diet is a leading contributor to hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and other health problems – and 80 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed and restaurant foods.
Between 2012 and 2014, the decline in sodium in 2,925 appetizers and sides, burgers, entrees, fried potatoes, pizza, sandwiches, and soups was less than 1 percent, from an average of 1,267 to 1,256 milligrams.