Whats the difference between salt and sodium

Difference between salt and sodium

What's the difference between sodium and salt?

A diet high in salt, or sodium chloride, is linked with high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, so we are advised to limit our salt intake. But it is easy to be confused about the amount of salt in foods as some nutrition labels state the sodium, not the actual salt content.

To work out how much salt is present, simply multiply the value for sodium by 2.5. This will give you the amount of salt in the food. So if a portion of food contains 0.6g sodium, then it has about 1.5g salt.

Adults, regardless of their gender or size, should have no more than 6g of salt or 2.4g of sodium a day - our average intake is currently 9.5g a day.

There are also guideline daily amounts of salt for children. The maximum amounts children should have in a day are:

  • 1 to 3 years - 2g a day (0.8g sodium)
  • 4 to 6 years - 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium)
  • 7 to 10 years - 5g a day (2g sodium)
  • 11 and over - 6g a day (2.5g sodium)

It is estimated that over 75% of our salt intake comes from processed foods, so although cutting down on the amount of salt we add at the table and cooking will help, it is important to be aware of the salt we can't see in our food. This is where reading and understanding food labels is important.

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