EWWK: Reducing Sodium in Your Diet

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In 2010 the FDA announced its intent to reduce sodium in the diets of Americans. This is a noble goal and one that cannot be reached without commitment on the part of the food industry since 70 to 90 percent of the sodium consumed comes from packaged foods.

Soup is one of the many foods that can have well over half the daily suggested amount of sodium/salt in one serving. However, soup in and of itself can be a very healthy food, so I just love that many soups are coming in lower sodium varieties.

To help make shopping easier, here are some sodium-related claims you may find on food packages and the criteria the product must meet in order to carry that claim:

Sodium-free
Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving

Very low sodium
35 milligrams or less per serving

Low sodium
140 milligrams or less per serving

Reduced (or less) sodium
Usual sodium level is reduced by 25 percent per serving

Light (for sodium reduced products)
If the food is “low calorie,” “low fat” and sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving

Light in sodium
If sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving

Here is a look at the sodium content of the lower sodium canned soups sold in the grocery store:

Healthy Choice
390-480 mg of sodium/serving

Campbell’s Healthy Request soups
Less than 480 mg of sodium/serving

Progresso’s Reduced Sodium soups
470-480 mg of sodium/serving

Amy’s Light in Sodium
Less than 300mg of sodium/serving

Of course, soup is not the only sodium problem at the grocery store. There are soup mixes, flavoring packets, chips, salad dressing and many more packaged foods that pack a sodium punch.

Here are some items I have noticed recently that have reduced sodium content:
-McCormick reduced sodium mixes (30 percent reduction): Chili mix = 270 mg/serving; Meat loaf mix = 200 mg/serving; Mild taco = 300 mg/serving
-Frito Lay Lightly Salted: Potato chips = 80 mg sodium/ounce; Corn chips = 85 mg sodium/ounce

Many of these foods will continue to have reductions in sodium over time. Companies have found if the sodium is reduced too drastically, the products will not be successful because it takes a while for our tastes to adjust to a reduction in sodium. This is true when reducing sodium in home cooking as well. Give your taste buds a chance to get used to less salt and over time you will find you need less and less salt in your foods.

Until next time: eat well, live well.


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