Salt and Sodium

One thing to be aware of is ‘hidden’ salt in foods such as sodium. Many people might not realise that sodium is part of salt and so ignore it when checking a food label. They will look for salt content and assume that it is the total amount of salt in that food whereas the figure could be much higher due to the additional sodium.

Most foods will show the amount of salt per 100 grams but not all show these amounts for both salt and sodium. Some foods will show sodium content only whereas others will show salt only.

Too much sodium can be equally as bad as too much salt.

Note: salt is NOT sodium but it does contain a high percentage of sodium. For example, ordinary table salt contains around 40% of sodium.

So how do you work out sodium and salt levels in food?

A good rule of thumb is to multiply the amount of sodium in a food product by 2.5. If a food contains 2 grams of sodium then it will contain 5 grams of salt:

2 grams of sodium x 2.5 = 5 grams of salt (in total)

This will give you both the salt and sodium levels.

We do need some sodium and salt as they help to transport nutrients around our bodies but many of us are consuming too much salt and often without realising it. This means looking at food labels carefully and working out what the salt (and sodium) content is before purchase.

If you find it difficult not to add salt to your food then consider an alternative such as sodium replacement salt. This looks and tastes the same as salt but contains potassium instead of sodium which can help to reduce high blood pressure.

Sodium replacement salt is not advisable for everyone. If you have been prescribed medication for high blood pressure or are suffering from kidney disease then check first with your GP.

If you are looking to reduce your salt intake but like to season your food then fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper are all good alternatives.

Food Labelling Guide Index:

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