Sources of Sodium


What’s the difference between sodium and salt?

Salt and sodium are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing. Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods or is added during manufacturing or both. Table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride. By weight, it is about 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride.

What are common sodium sources?

Sodium occurs naturally in some foods and is often added during manufacturing. Of course, we also add it during cooking and at the table, too. Naturally occurring sodium is in foods such as celery, beets and milk. Packaged and prepared foods, like canned soups, lunch meats and frozen dinners, often have sodium added during manufacturing. This sodium might be in the form of salt or other forms of sodium (like baking soda) that show up in our food.

Overall, more than 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. This makes it hard to choose foods with less sodium and to limit sodium because it’s already added to food before we buy it. The rest of the sodium in our diets occurs naturally in food (about 12 percent) or is added by us when we’re cooking food or sitting down to eat. The latter makes up only about 10 percent of our total sodium intake, so even if you never use the salt shaker, you’re probably getting too much sodium.

Watch your ingredients.

Sodium comes in many forms – and it is seen on the ingredients label as “salt”, “soda” and “sodium.” And sometimes, sodium is hidden in multiple words on the label. Here are some examples of ingredients that contain sodium:

  1. Disodium guanylate (GMP)
  2. Disodium inosinate (IMP)
  3. Fleur de sel
  4. Himalayan pink salt
  5. Kosher salt
  6. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  7. Rock salt
  8. Salt
  9. Sea salt
  10. Sodium bicarbonate
  11. Sodium nitrate
  12. Sodium citrate
  13. Sodium chloride
  14. Sodium diacetate
  15. Sodium erythorbate
  16. Sodium glutamate
  17. Sodium lactate
  18. Sodium lauryl Sulfate
  19. Sodium metabisulfite
  20. Sodium phosphate
  21. Trisodium phosphate

Measure everything you eat and keep a record of the sodium you eat each day to keep within the limit that your doctor has given you.

Use measuring devices such as cups, spoons, and even a scale that measures ounces and grams to help you keep track of your sodium intake.

Read every label on the boxed, canned and frozen foods you eat. Be sure to carefully read the serving size- some amounts will surprise you with the small amount that is considered a serving.

Be aware that there is sodium in nearly everything you eat.

Veggies often contain sodium as does chicken, pork, beef, fish, and turkey. Etc.

Cheese has a surprising amount of sodium per ounce. Swiss seems to be the lowest in sodium and the choice for people having to eat low sodium.

Avoid canned vegetables, they tend to have lots of sodium, however, you can find many of the same canned items in frozen form and they will have little or no sodium.

Read labels and measure everything. Keep track of everything.

Going out to eat can be a real issue. Call ahead and ask if they offer a low sodium menu. Many restaurants have a special menu for people with gluten, nuts and sodium restrictions. However, you have to ask for it.

Also, try to eat at local places that are family owned. They tend to actually prepare the food as opposed to those nation chain restaurants that simply heat up the prepared food sent to them from some warehouse. At the family owned restaurants you can ask for a meal to be prepared to your specific requirements.

The hardest meal to do is probably Asian or Chinese. Soy sauce is horribly high in sodium. However, you can ask if they can prepare you steamed rice and plain cooked meat.

There are many no salt spices or you can even make your own, and numerous sauces with no added sodium are available.

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If you are visiting our website it is probably because you want to or need to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet for a healthier lifestyle. Here at, we are label readers. We are constantly looking for nutritious and flavorful foods with the lowest sodium that we can find. We interact, we question, and we compliment and encourage each other. We are always working on converting recipes we come across, whether those passed down for generations or the latest trends, to make low sodium versions. Through this journey we become friends who support each other.

We share because we care! We share pictures of the low sodium meals that we have prepared and if the sodium amount if known, that is posted as well. We share recipes that we have found and have made, noting changes made to make the recipe low sodium. We also give credit to the source where the recipe was found. We also share our own creations, listing the ingredients and sodium values.

Life is complicated enough, eating shouldn’t be! With the help of members of our Facebook group we try to take the hassle out of living a low sodium lifestyle.

Please share this site with your friends, family, and doctors. Also, please take a moment to read the disclaimer.


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