How can I tell the sodium in a product from the food label?

All food labels have milligrams (mg) of sodium listed on the nutrition label. Follow these steps when reading the sodium information on the label:
  • Know how much sodium you are allowed each day. Remember that there are 1,000 milligrams (mg) in 1 gram. For example, if your diet prescription is 2 grams of sodium, your limit is 2,000 mg per day. Consider other foods you will be eating later in the day.
  • Look at the package label. Check the serving size or number of servings in the package. Nutrition values are per serving. How does this compare to your total daily allowance? If the sodium level is 500 mg or more per serving, the item is not a good choice.
  • Compare labels of similar products. Select the lowest sodium level for the same serving size.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes, the sodium content is required to be on a food label and it will be written in milligrams. A good guide to keep in mind is the guideline set by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines state Americans should keep their sodium level at 2300 milligrams per day and if you are 51 years of age or older, African American (any age), have diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure, than you should limit your sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day. A quick guide to reading the food label is to choose foods that indicate 5% or less of the % daily value for sodium. Labels may state the food is sodium free or salt free which indicates less than 5 milligrams sodium/serving; very low sodium indicates 35 milligrams sodium/serving; low sodium indicates 140 milligrams sodium/serving; reduced or less sodium indicates at least 25% less sodium; and light in sodium indicates 50% less.

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, sodium is one of the items listed on the nutrition facts label. Always start by looking at the serving size of the product. 
Yes. Sodium is listed in milligrams (mg) on the Nutrition Facts Panel. In order for a food to say “low sodium” anywhere on the package, it must have less than 140mg per serving. Also, you can look at the % Daily Value. The %DV column tells you how much of that nutrient is contributed by that food to your daily allowance. For sodium, try to chose foods with <5% DV, as you will be getting sodium from lots of different sources throughout your day.

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