Salt Sucks so here’s how to eat less sodium

Picture of a spoon full of salt that's the opposite of how to eat less sodium.

Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via Foodiesfeed.com.

How to eat less sodium in your diet than the recommended daily allowance is a topic worth discussing. BTW, the recommended is a maximum of 2300 milligrams.

Why play sodium limbo and work to ingest the least amount you can? 2300 is too much. It’s that simple. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that people struggling with high blood pressure keep their daily sodium intake to 1500 milligrams maximum. And even that is too much.

One issue is that all the packaging in the US uses 2300 to calculate the percentage. That’s not helpful. The entire system for food labeling is unhelpful if you’re trying to get and stay healthy. Here’s some information about how the FDA regulates pre-packaged food labels.
2300 milligrams of sodium is 153.3% more than the amount the American Heart Association recommends.

So here’s the fixed percentage table. I thought it would be at the AHA site but it’s not.

Eat Less Than 1500 Milligrams of Sodium Daily

This chart shows the percentage of sodium based on a low sodium diet of 1500 milligrams as 100%. This is in contrast to packaged foods which use 2300 milligrams, the recommended daily allowance, as 100%.
Number of MilligramsPercentage of 1500 Random Note about this Amount or other salty fact.
00%Zero is the best number to see on packaged foods under sodium.
755%5% and less is "low".
1409.3%140 mg is often touted as "low sodium" on packaged foods.
15010%Pink Himalayan salt has more essential trace elements than sea salt or regular salt.
16511%milligram is a metric system unit = to .05 ounces
18012%If food producers would stop adding salt and sodium everyone would be healthier.
19513%Sodium and salt are not the exact same thing.
21014%Sodium chloride is the chemical name for table salt.
22515%quiz: what are essential trace elements?
24016%The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to help food suppliers reduce the amount of sodium they add to our food.
25517%Salt does not have any calories.
27018%Salt has a lot of uses in cleaning and removing blood stains. Search the web for TMI!
28519%Challenge yourself to never cross this line during a meal.
30020%20% is considered high for a low sodium diet per the American Heart Association.
45030%Salt has an atomic number of 11 on the periodic table. Okay? Just a fact 🙂
60040%Boiling salt is hard. It has a boiling point of 1,621 °F
75050%Sodium is the 6th most abundant element on Earth.
90060%
105070%
120080%
135090%
1500100%1500 milligrams a day is the maximum amount of sodium to have on a "low sodium" diet. Lower is better.

How to eat less sodium aka play low sodium limbo

– stop eating packaged foods. Start small with condiments.

  • if/when you do eat packaged foods choose items with zero added sodium. Yes, it’s a hunt. Take up the challenge.
  • memorize some of the numbers on the above chart to quickly know if a item is low, medium, or high for a low sodium diet

– only eat at restaurants that will provide you with sodium amount information. Sadly, this will limit your choices.

  • Let’s start a campaign to ensure EVERY restaurant has to provide nutritional information not just the chains where you might not want to eat for other reasons.

SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT! EATING SHOULD BE SIMPLE.

For reference, less than or equal to 5% is considered low sodium and greater than or equal to 20% is considered high. One book I read, The Engine 2, Seven-Day Rescue Diet, advises/advocates not eating packaged foods whose sodium in milligrams exceeds the number of calories per serving. They call it Jeff’s 1:1 rule – calories:milligrams of sodium. I’ll do the math about that later but I believe Jeff’s basic premise is that we should aim for 1 mg or less of salt per calorie. That seems like a useful goal while learning how to eat less sodium.

Best fix is not to eat any packaged food – whole foods only?