5 Secrets People on a Low-Salt Diet Swear By


Mckenzie Ellis

1. Always read the label and ingredients.

Start with the serving size. Remember, if you eat more than one serving, you will get more sodium than the amount listed.

Use food labels and packaging to help you select the lowest sodium option. If unable to buy low sodium versions, drain and rinse canned foods under running water to remove excess sodium.

  • Choose foods with 140 mg sodium or less per serving.
  • Avoid food with more than 300 mg of sodium per serving.

You can also use the % Daily Value (% DV) of sodium on food labels to help you quickly compare brands or products.

  • Choose foods with 5% or less Daily Value sodium, these are low sodium.
  • Avoid foods with 20% or higher Daily Value sodium, these are high sodium.

Product packaging can help guide you, as well.

  • Salt-free or Sodium-free: less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Very low sodium: less than 35 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Low sodium: less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.

2. Learn all the names for salt.

Labels list the ingredients in order of most to least amount. Choose foods where sodium is listed near the end of the list. Be on the lookout for “hidden” sodium with ingredients that go by the names: saline, sodium benzoate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium chloride (salt), sodium nitrate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

3. Don’t fall for so-called “healthy” salt!

Himalayan pink salt, truffle salt, chipotle sea salt, Hawaiian lava salt…sea salt has boomed in the last few years in popularity, in restaurants and supermarket aisles. Many gourmet chefs say they prefer it over table salt for its coarse, crunchy texture and stronger flavor. Manufacturers started marketing how their products contained nothing but pure sea salt as if that made it healthier! Unfortunately, it’s all still salt! Salt is salt is salt is salt.

4. But it’s oh so sweet. Beware of hidden salt.

Some of the biggest surprises in terms of sodium are things that taste sweet. For example, breakfast cereals taste sweet but typically contain a high level of sodium. Sodium count in cereal can vary widely depending on brand: One cup of Grape Nuts cereal has 580mg of sodium, while Shredded Wheat has 0mg. When you are browsing the cereal aisle, shop smart and make sure to check the sodium content on the nutrition labels. ⠀ ⠀

No one expects Kellogg's® Frosted Flakes® Tony the Tiger to be a cartoon representation of healthy eating. The Tiger practically screams "hopped up on goofballs." But as a wholesome vision of health goes, the Quaker Oats guy is confusing. “His” sneaky sources of sodium can hide in the trickiest of ways. Take QUAKER® Instant Oatmeal Cinnamon & Spice, a single serving (1 packet) contains 200mg of sodium versus the plain Old Fashion Oats that contains 0mg. Shop smart and spice up the old fashion oats with some brown sugar, raisins, sliced apple, cinnamon, and a dash of honey instead. ⠀

5. Stay away from processed food.

Processed food is a number one culprit in the over-consumption of salt. 75% of the sodium you consume comes from pre-packaged foods and eating out, not the saltshaker! Pre-packaged meals at the grocery store are commonly frozen or canned for preservation and convenience. From a dietary perspective, there are some usual suspects which are particularly high in salt (sodium). These foods include: canned goods like soups and stocks, frozen/pre-packaged meals, pickles, olives and other foods sold in preserved jars, sauces like soy sauce and ketchup, processed cheeses, and foods with added salt like nuts, crackers and chips. Opt to stay on the outskirts of the grocery store where typically healthy whole foods, fruits and vegetables are located.⁠

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