Sodium, how to read Salt labels

Sodium Recommendations

In January 2011, the USDA announced the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommending that healthy adults should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day while individuals with high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day. Consistently consuming more than the recommendation may lead to high blood pressure increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure. Even when eating healthy, it is important to pay attention to the sodium content in the foods because some seemingly healthy foods are higher in sodium than you may think. Always check the labels to be sure of sodium content. You’ll find a complete guide in How to Read Salt Labels.

Salt Labels: What You Need to Know

When food companies make sodium claims, they have to follow labeling rules. For the consumer, the tricky part is that there are four claims. Two apply when a company is comparing their food to a loosely defined fully salted version. One refers to a specific sodium level, another to whether salt has been added. Bottom line: The amount of sodium per serving (found on the back label) is critical.

Claim #1: “No Salt Added” or “Unsalted”

No salt is added during processing. This does not always mean sodium-free; some foods contain sodium naturally.

For Example:

Land O’ Lakes Unsalted Butter (0mg)
Land O’ Lakes Salted Butter (95mg)

Sodium Savings: 95mg per 1 tablespoon

Claim #2: “Reduced”or “Less Sodium”

Must contain at least 25% less than the original food, a competitor’s product, or another reference.

For Example:

Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce (575mg)
Kikkoman Soy Sauce (920mg)

Sodium Savings: 345mg per 1 tablespoon

Claim #3: “Light in Sodium” or “Lightly Salted”

Must contain 50% less than the original food, a competitor’s product, or another reference.

For Example:

Lay’s Lightly Salted Potato Chips (85mg)
Lay’s Classic Potato Chips (180mg)

Sodium Savings: 95mg per 1 ounce

Claim #4: “Low Sodium”

This is the most stringent reduced-sodium label. Each food can have only 140mg or less sodium (natural or added) per serving.

For Example:

Nabisco Wheat Thins Hint of Salt (60mg)
Nabisco Original Wheat Thins (230mg)

Sodium Savings: 170mg per 16 crackers

To learn more about your nutritional health, contact Abundant Health LLC 970-256-7454.

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