(NBC News) -- The Food and Drug Administration is preparing new voluntary guidelines to reduce the salt in restaurant meals and processed foods.
The recommendations are part of a federal effort to prevent thousands of deaths each year due to heart disease and stroke.
Chef Mike Friedman agrees Americans need to cut back on salt, but he worries about putting the responsibility on restaurants and food makers.
"We need to be very careful about taking care of guests versus being nannies," Friedman says.
Scientists says Americans are consuming about 30 percent more sodium a day than they should be, leading to high blood pressure and heart attacks.
It's why healthy food advocate Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest worries the FDA's guidelines won't go far enough.
"The problem with voluntary recommendations is no body has to follow them and companies might fear if they lower sodium levels their competitors won't and their foods won't taste as good," he says.
-- Danielle Leigh reports