How do you find out the sodium content in foods and drinks?


Quick Answer

To determine the sodium content in foods and drinks, read the amount on the product's nutrition facts. Nutrition facts list the amount of each nutrient per serving, so also check the serving size on the label to determine how many servings the product contains. Certain food labels, such as "sodium free" and "low sodium," indicate a certain range of sodium in a product, but not the exact amount.

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Full Answer

Nutrition facts list sodium content in milligrams. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends people on standard 2,000- or 2,500-calorie-per-day diets consume 2,400 milligrams of sodium or less per day, although people with heart issues should consume less. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less per day, as of 2015.

Food labels related to sodium include "sodium free," "very low sodium," "low sodium" and "reduced sodium." The FDA requires products with "sodium free" labels to have 5 milligrams of sodium or less per serving, while products with "very low sodium" labels must have 35 milligrams or less per serving, and products with "low sodium" labels must have 140 milligrams or less per serving. Products with "reduced sodium" labels must have their normal sodium levels reduced by at least 25 percent. This doesn't indicate the product is actually low in sodium.

Another label related to sodium is "unsalted," although "no added salt" and "without added salt" are also used as alternatives. These labels mean that the manufacturer doesn't use any salt, but the product still contains any sodium natural to the food.

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