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Salt: How Much Is Too Much? — an article on the Smart Living Network
June 22, 2011 at 1:42 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Salt: How Much Is Too Much?


If there is one thing virtually all nutritionists and doctors agree on, it's that many Americans eat way too much salt. Unfortunately, only about 30% of the salt consumed comes from the table. The other 70% is derived from processed foods, so skipping a sprinkling of salt at dinner is not a sufficient way to cut your sodium intake.

Benefits of limiting sodium in the diet:

  • For many – lower blood pressure
  • Helps in weight loss
  • May prevent or reduce fluid retention
  • Reduces risk for certain kinds of cancer
  • Reduced level of urinary calcium – healthier bones
The following tips can help you reduce salt in your diet:
  • Fresh is best
  • Use salt substitutes when cooking
  • Rinse canned vegetables, this can reduce salt by 40%
  • Read the label, some of salt's aliases:
                 - Sodium chloride

                 - Sodium bicarbonate

                 - Sodium benzoate

                 - MSG monosodium glutamate

                 - Sodium Nitrate

                 - Disodium

Interpreting the Labels:

  • Sodium free – contains less than 5 mg per serving
  • Very low sodium – 35 mg or less per serving
  • Low sodium – 140 mg or less per serving
  • Reduced sodium – Contains at least 25% less than original
  • Without added salt – No salt added during processing
  • No salt added – unsalted

Foods high in sodium content:

  • Meat – ham, cold cuts, bacon, pickled or smoked meat, sausage
  • Processed foods – bologna, pepperoni, hot dogs, dried beef
  • Canned foods – vegetables, sauces, fish
  • Most cheese
  • Dried pasta and rice mixes
  • All soup or gravy powders
  • All frozen products
  • Many condiments
  • Snack foods, chips, pretzels, popcorn, cheese puffs, salted nuts
  • Dips
  • All products made with baking powder, biscuits, cakes, rusks, cookies
Foods low in sodium content:
  • Plain breads, cereals, rice and pasta
  • Meats – fresh cuts not processed
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Beverages such as tea, flavored water, fresh juice

Low sodium seasonings: 

Allspice                                  Garlic                                                          Onion                   

Bay leaf                                  Basil                                                          Ginger

Oregano                                 Chili powder                                                 Horseradish

Paprika                                   Chives                                                        Sauce

Pepper                                   Cinnamon                                                    Lemon juice

Rosemary                               Cloves                                                         Lime juice

Sage                                      Curry Powder                                                 Mace

Tarragon                                 Dill                                                              Marjoram

Thyme                                    Vanilla extract                                               Dry mustard

Tabasco                                  Nutmeg                                                        Vinegar

Mrs. Dash      

Examples of high sodium food:

Burger King small fry 410 mg

McDonald’s small fry 140 mg                                                                                   

Macaroni and cheese, 1 cup, 1,061 mg

Canned chili with beans, 1 cup, 1,007 mg

Corned beef brisket, 3 oz., 856 mg

Canned sauerkraut, 1 cup, 1,560 mg

Bouillon cube 743 mg

Biscuit, 3 inches, 586 mg

Canned peas, 1 cup, 428 mg

Raisin bran, 1 cup, 362 mg

Canned green beans, 1 cup, 354 mg

Cheese pizza, 1 slice, 282 mg

Apple pie, 1/6 of 9-inch pie, 311 mg

American cheese, one slice, 422 mg

How much should you eat? 

Somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 mg – the lower number if you are sedentary or have hypertension.

More from jennie from SLN Others Are Reading


  • This is very Just one slice of American cheese has way more sodium than a slice of cheese pizza? That's crazy!

  • Agreed! I can't believe 1 cup of Macaroni and cheese contains 1,061 mg. My husband eats a whole box by himself for lunch....hmmm, too much salt!

  • which is why, ladies, one needs to cook from scratch...........;)

  • it is amazing how little salt you need to prepare tasty food!

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