Did you know that “salt” and “sodium” are not the same thing, even though they’re often used interchangeably? Salt is made up of sodium, which is a mineral. Most of your sodium is found in salt.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration works to ensure that people have easier access to healthy foods and clear nutrition information so they can make better food choices. To make it easier for you and the family to eat less sodium, one way is to do so.
Because about 70% of the sodium you eat comes from processed (packaged) foods and restaurant foods, the FDA is working closely with industry, asking manufacturers to gradually lower sodium across a wide range of foods. This will allow for more choices in food with less sodium.
You and your family can take steps to reduce the amount of sodium (and salt) you eat. The recommended limit for sodium is 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day for people 14 years and older. But people in the U.S. consume 3,400 mg per day on average!
Why Reduce Sodium
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Ninety percent (90%) of Americans consume more sodium than recommended. While more than 4 in 10 Americans have high blood pressure, in non-Hispanic Black adults that number increases to almost 6 in 10.
Children and adolescents also eat too much sodium. Studies show that children who eat high amounts of sodium may continue to eat those foods into adulthood.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Sodium
- Try to cut back on foods high in sodium, such as deli-meat sandwiches, pizza, and burritos and tacos. It’s important to reduce sodium intake when you eat out and at home. Ask for written nutrition information if you order a standard menu item from a chain restaurant. Then, choose a lower-sodium option.
- Compare products. Before you buy, check the Nutrition Facts label to compare the sodium content of packaged products (there’s a fair amount of variety among similar foods). For example, data collected by the FDA shows that breads can vary from 300 mg to 700 mg per 100 grams of bread.
- Aim to stay under the Daily Value (DV) for sodium. The daily sodium DV is the recommended limit. You should not exceed this amount. 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.
- Expand your spice horizons. To add flavor to your food, you can use no-salt seasonings or herbs and spices in place of salt.
- For additional information, please visit Sodium in Your Diet | FDA.
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