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postheadericon How much is too much Sodium?

Food Label

Food Label


In a world full of fast food places, it’s far too easy to not cook at home and to just go out and eat something fast but have you looked at the ingredients?  What about the Nutrition Facts?  How much Sodium is in that burger?  But we also purchase processed foods from can soup to tomato sauce to barbecue sauce to stewing tomatoes.  Today we’ll talk about how to read the label and find out if you are getting too much Sodium in your diet and other bad stuff.  I am not a medical doctor, dietician or nurse and all info was based on research from the internet.

What is Sodium?

Most people think of sodium as salt but that is only a small portion of where actual sodium intake comes from.  Although you may not use a lot of salt in your cooking, your food products may already have the sodium levels which may be okay or high.

Sodium occurs naturally in many foods and is also added in the form of salt or other sodium-containing substances. Common salt or table salt is a chemical compound of sodium and chlorine and is called sodium chloride. The sodium content of food has important implications for health. Salt contains about 40 per cent sodium, and a teaspoon of salt, which weighs about 5 grams, contains about 2 grams of sodium.

Rock salt and sea salt are almost entirely sodium chloride, with only traces of other elements (minerals). In contrast to pepper, which loses flavour once ground, there is no advantage in freshly grinding salt prior to its use. Iodized salt contains about 0.03 milligram of iodine per gram of salt. It is intended as a supplement for people whose diet is deficient in iodine. Recent findings in the U.S.A. indicate that the level of iodine in the diet has increased and that the widespread use of this salt is unnecessary.

Varying amounts of sodium are added to food, but not always in the form of salt. Common food additives, such as baking soda, some preservatives, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), also contribute to the total amount of sodium we consume.

How much is too much Sodium?

Anything over the 15% range per serving is too high.  Many items may be in fact double portions so make sure to check that too.  Read the label when making a choice with a lower sodium content.

What’s the big deal?  A little Sodium can’t hurt me!

Close to one-fifth of the population, because of genetic predisposition, may be increasing their risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) by having a high intake of sodium. People who have a high intake of sodium have a high incidence of hypertension and stroke. High blood pressure is rarely seen in those who consume less than 1.2 grams (1200 milligrams) of sodium per day.  Exceeding the recommended amount may cause high blood pressure.   Salt is not necessarily the only important factor leading to high blood pressure, but in some cases it is. There are sound reasons why people should reduce their sodium intake. But sodium is an essential nutrient, and we need a certain amount for normal body function. A safe intake is considered to be between 0.9 and 2.3 grams of sodium per day, although in special circumstances, such as excessive sweating and diarrhoea, higher levels may be needed.

There is usually no need to increase your salt intake in hot climates to avoid cramps, fainting and other symptoms because the body’s hormones will adjust over a few days and conserve body sodium. Excessive heat presents other risks and should, in any case, be avoided.

How do we control our salt/sodium intake?

One of the easiest ways to control your salt/sodium intake is to read the labels and most importantly cook at home more, with less processed products, and where you can control the amount of salt/sodium that goes into your recipes.

One of my favorite ways to reduce salt/sodium is to just experiment with the recipes by cutting salt requirement.  I find that many of the other ingredients already have the added salt content so the lowered salt level is not missed. 

You cannot cut out your sodium intake or your body may suffer some health effects as sodium is a requirement for our bodies to remain healthy and functioning at capacity.

Here’s foods to avoid:

Bread, Tomato Sauce, Cakes, Biscuits, Canned foods, take away foods such as fish and chips, hamburgers and chinese food which are all highly salted.  Bottled mineral waters can contribute a significant amount of sodium.  Always read the label and make sure you have 15% or lower in Sodium.

Can anything help lower the sodium in my diet?

Increasing your potassium intakes seems to offset the adverse effects that sodium has on blood pressure.  Foods that contain higher amounts of potassium and low levels of sodium are fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.  There is no justification for the unrestricted use of potassium salts as substitutes as this presents new problems.  Potassium and salt substitutes can be hazardous to health and should only be taken under medical supervision.

Too much salt can cause the following:

Kidney disease

High Blood Pressure


Congestive Heart Failure



Table salt is 40% sodium; 1 teaspoon of table salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. 

The healthy adult should consume maximum 2300 mg per day.

Persons with high blood pressure should consume no more than 1500 mg per day.

Those with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis and kidney disease may need much lower amounts.

We give our children their meals.  We need to make sure the sodium levels are at a safe level so when they become adults they will be able to control their sodium intake instead of it controlling them.

Hope this was helpful and that maybe you will learn to eat a little healthier.  Reduce the salt in any of the recipes here and it will be just as good.  Thanks for reading the first of many helpful healthy eating tips.


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