How to Read Labels for a Low Sodium Diet

Learning how to read labels for a low sodium diet is an important first step in taking control of your health and making sure you’re choosing the healthiest options.

The salt in your kitchen is not what manufacturers use to season their products.  Instead, they use sodium-filled chemicals and products to add flavor and to preserve them.

Most people get the majority of their sodium from eating processed, prepared or packaged foods.  Learning to identify sodium in all its forms is key to managing your low sodium diet.

When you’re reading ingredients on a label it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the mile-long words that can look and sound like a foreign language.

 The good news is you don’t need to become a chemist to find the hidden sodium.  You just need to be able to recognize a few key terms.

MSG is a type of sodium used to enhance the flavor in foods.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) AKA Sodium Glutamate

Though it’s most known as a popular ingredient in Chinese food, MSG can also be found in canned foods and processed meats.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) AKA Sodium Glutamate

Disodium phosphate is added to foods like cooked meats, sausages, and baked goods as a preservative.

Disodium Phosphate

It’s also used to keep foods moist and to give a smooth texture to foods like cheese and carbonated drinks.

Disodium Phosphate

Sodium alginate is found in dairy products like yogurt and ice cream where it’s used as a stabilizer.  It’s also used to thicken puddings and jams, prevent moisture loss in meats, and to emulsify salad dressings and beverages.

Sodium Alginate

Sodium citrate is a food additive used to add a sour taste to foods like soft drinks and to smooth processed cheeses.

Sodium Citrate

Sodium nitrate is used to cure meats like lunch meat, bacon, and hot dogs.  Research indicates it can damage arteries, causing them to harden and narrow, a potentially dangerous situation for patients with heart disease.

Sodium Nitrate

There are some high sodium ingredients you will recognize.  Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, and baking powder, which contains baking soda and an acid.

Baking Soda Baking Powder

These familiar ingredients may seem harmless but just one teaspoon of baking soda can contain more than 1,200 mgs of sodium.

Baking Soda & Baking Powder

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