How Do You Read a Sodium Chart?


Quick Answer

Consumers should read charts that specify the sodium content in foods to determine their daily sodium intake, reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They should add up the amount of sodium in each item they consume to be sure that the total is under the daily maximum recommended amount. Excess sodium in diets can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

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Full Answer

Although Americans consume an average of 3,300 mg of sodium daily as of 2015, the recommended daily intake is less than 2,300 mg, explains the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For certain population groups such as African-Americans, people over 50, and those with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, the recommended maximum is 1,500 mg. Most of the sodium that people consume is not from salt but from bread, processed meats, pizza, snacks and other food items.

When people read sodium charts, they must take notice not only of the types of food but also the quantities, as listings are usually for one serving, advises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Listed percentages are based on the maximum recommended daily amount. Sodium charts enable consumers to compare food products according to their sodium content. Whenever possible, consumers should opt for fresh or frozen products rather than processed, smoked or canned foods.

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