The difference is how the two salts are produced. “Just one teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium,” says Alison Massey, RD, a registered dietitian at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can raise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. ... Use the Nutrition Facts Label to Reduce Your Intake of Sodium in Your Diet. Even though sodium may already be in many packaged foods when you purchase them, you can lower your daily sodium intake by using the Nutrition Facts label. Instead, it’s best to find other ways to flavor your food. Most of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods — like sliced bread — meaning that the average American currently consumes about 3,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Some sodium is necessary for human survival,” Batayneh says. Although some sodium is essential for nerve health, overloading your system with salt can have serious consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from the following foods: But remember, the sodium content can vary significantly between similar types of foods. Actual daily nutrient requirements might be different based on your age, gender, level of physical activity, medical history and other factors. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diets higher in sodium are associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease. As a food ingredient, sodium has multiple uses, such as for curing meat, baking, thickening, retaining moisture, enhancing flavor (including the flavor of other ingredients), and as a preservative. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar. Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging.

Also, some foods that you may eat several times a day (such as breads) can add up to a lot of sodium over the course of a day, even though an individual serving may not be high in sodium. That is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the food industry to make reasonable reductions in sodium across a wide variety of foods. The first step to cutting back — way back — on your sodium is to cut through the many popular misconceptions about salt. Researchers found that simply cutting back on sodium-rich processed foods and eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was usually enough to balance the mineral levels for optimum health. Salt and Sodium: Defined These include restaurant foods; prepared pasta sauces, which may contain as much as 900 mg sodium in a half-cup; cereals, including some targeted for children that contain 200 to 300 mg sodium per cup; instant bread and muffin mixes; cottage cheese, which can have as much as 400 mg per half-cup; and condiments such as ketchup, which has 190 mg of sodium per tablespoon. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. “In small amounts, sodium helps maintain the correct balance of fluids in your body, and it’s also a key player in muscle contraction and relaxation.” Sodium also makes the process of sweating possible, allowing you to cool down and avoid dehydration and heat stroke, too. The Ultimate Guide to Health and Happiness, High-Dose Biotin Fails MS Trial, Dashing Hopes, Over Half of American Adults With Advanced MS Experience Mistreatment by Caregiver, Survey Shows, Tippi Coronavirus: Tips for Living With COVID-19. “In a diet high in sodium, your kidneys release more water, increasing the volume of blood your heart pumps out second by second,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You, a nutrition consulting firm. Sodium is an essential nutrient and is needed by the body in relatively small amounts(provided that substantial sweating does not occur) to maintain a balance of body fluids and keep muscles and nerves running smoothly. NOTE: FDA has issued final changes to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. Daily values are based on 2000 calorie diet and 155 lbs (70 kg) body weight . Despite all the warnings about salt, salt isn’t all bad. Many people are surprised to learn which foods are on the list because the foods do not always taste salty. “From smoked salt and fleur de sel from France to black Hawaiian lava salt and Murray River pink salt from Australia, flavored salts add different colors, textures, and flavors to dishes,” Batayneh says. Use the Nutrition Facts label to make informed decisions about sodium. In a word, moderation.

“Both types of salt contain the same amount of sodium, ounce for ounce: 2,300 mg per teaspoon,” Batayneh says. Read about some common foods that are often high in sodium.

The food supply contains too much sodium and Americans who want to consume less sodium can have a difficult time doing so. A recent American Heart Association survey of 1,000 American adults found that a majority believed sea salt to be a low-sodium alternative to table salt.

Everyday Health is among the federally registered trademarks of Everyday Health, Inc. and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. Find information on sodium and food sources, how to reduce sodium, and sodium reduction resources for everyone. Get nutrition facts in common serving sizes: 100g, 1 cup, 1 dash, 1 tbsp, 1 tsp. You can also check for nutrient claims on food and beverage packages to quickly identify those that may contain less sodium. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt! You’ve probably heard that most Americans eat too much sodium. Although eating the recommended amount of sodium sounds simple, in reality it’s a tiny daily allowance. Surprisingly, some foods that don’t taste salty can still be high in sodium, which is why using taste alone is not an accurate way to judge a food’s sodium content. “Both types of salt contain the same amount of sodium, ounce for ounce: 2,300 mg per teaspoon,” Batayneh says.

From the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), find tips for reducing dietary sodium and salt. © 1996-2020 Everyday Health, Inc. Here’s a guide to common claims and what they mean: Sodium attracts water, and a high-sodium diet draws water into the bloodstream, which can increase the volume of blood and subsequently your blood pressure. Offers a how-to guide for reducing sodium. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely. As a general guide: 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is considered low, and 20% DV or more of sodium per serving is considered high. Find resources and tips for reducing the amount in your diet while keeping the flavor. Learning about sodium in foods and exploring new ways to prepare foods can help you achieve your sodium goal. “This puts stress on your heart, as it has to work even harder to deliver fresh blood to your organs.” If you know you have an elevated risk for heart disease, it’s best to limit your sodium intake as much as possible. HHS, Food and Drug Administration. Nutrition labels on food packaging now make this a lot easier.

Use %DV to determine if a serving of the food is high or low in sodium and to compare and choose foods to get less than 100% DV of sodium each day. Plus, because most gourmet salts are unrefined, you’ll skip the additives in table salt (though it’s important to still consume iodine through other sources). Sign up for our Diet and Nutrition Newsletter! Although ounce for ounce natural and gourmet salts contain the same amount of sodium as table salt, the unique flavor profile of each kind can help you use less. Learn the truth about how much salt you really need, how it can impact your health, and more. The .gov means it’s official.Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. So, use the Nutrition Facts label to compare products, and don’t forget to check the serving size in order to make an accurate comparison.