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The Healthy Living Magazine

Salt Speak

By Erika Gebel, PhD ,

Food labels can be confusing (what's the difference between low sodium and light sodium, anyhow?). Still, understanding the salt content of foods is an important part of eating healthier since too much sodium can raise your risk of heart problems. Read on to find out what the labels really mean.

Sodium free, zero sodium, no sodium, without sodium, free of sodium, trivial source of sodium = Fewer than 5 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving.

Very low in sodium = No more than 35 mg per serving.

Low in sodium = No more than 140 mg per serving.

Light in sodium = At least 50 percent less sodium per serving than the full-sodium version.

Reduced sodium, lower sodium, less sodium = At least 25 percent less sodium per serving than the full-sodium version.

Unsalted, no salt added, without added salt = No salt was added during production. If the food still has sodium, the label must state: "Not a sodium-free food."

Healthy = No more than 480 mg of sodium per serving unless it is a meal (like a frozen dinner), which can have no more than 600 mg.

Source: Consumer Reports, January 2009



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