Don’t Be So Salty!

Sodium is essential in small amounts, however most people consume well above the recommended guidelines. How much is too much? We break it down here and let you know the best ways to manage the milligrams.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day.

SACN Population Maximum Salt Targets for Adults and Children
0–6 monthsLess than 1 gram
7–12 months1 gram
1–3 years2 gram
4–6 years3 gram
7–10 years5 gram
11–14 years6 gram
Adults6 gram

Why is too much sodium bad?

Too much sodium in the bloodstream can cause a problem for the kidneys, so the body holds onto more water to dilute the sodium. This increases blood volume, and in turn, blood pressure.

In order to avoid this physiological reaction to excess sodium, be aware of the foods that contain sodium:
Processed and Prepared Foods

For example, bread, pizza, cold cuts and bacon, cheese, soups, fast foods, and prepared dinners.

Natural Sources

All vegetables and dairy products, meat, and shellfish contain a bit of natural sodium, which counts in your daily sodium intake. For example, 1 cup of low-fat milk has about 100 mg of sodium.

In the Kitchen and at the Table

Recipes often call for added salt, and many people add salt to their food at the table. In addition, condiments can contain sodium. One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000 mg of sodium.