Is Salt the Same as Sodium?


by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

Throughout these InstaHealth posts, we’ve covered food labels from top to bottom.

In this issue, it’s time for the very last item on the list: Salt.

Why is it important to know the salt content of your food?

There is convincing evidence that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.

But there is something important to highlight when it comes to salt…

in European countries you will always find salt written on the label.

But Europe is Europe… Get away from it and everything changes.

In countries like Australia, China, and the US you won’t find the word “salt”.

Instead, they use sodium.

Check out this Australian food label, for example:

So, are sodium and salt the same?

Well, yes and no.

Salt, as we know it, is actually sodium chloride.

Because it’s only the sodium part that is important in the body, some labels only name this component.

Because it’s only the sodium part that is important in the body, some labels only name this component (and not the chloride bit).

Which means that when a label says salt, it includes both the amount of sodium and chloride.

So, the amount of salt is actually higher than the amount of sodium in a product (since it has another part to include).
sodiu
But there’s an easy way to convert sodium into salt. Simply multiply by 2.5.

The Australian label you just saw contained 20mg of sodium per serving.

So 20mg x 2.5 = 50mg of salt per serving

Salt guidelines in the UK recommend that we don’t consume more than 6 grams of salt per day. This therefore equates to 2.4 grams of sodium per day.

So, now you know how to work out how much salt is in your food, even if you’re away on holiday!

 

 

If you want to get the latest science and our tips, make sure you sign up to our emails HERE.

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alejandra "Alex" Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for their students. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL doctoral researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups.

Connect with Alex via email.


Did you enjoy this? Sign up to receive our research and actionable advice to help you and those you care about.

Leave A Response

Please enter a valid number to confirm that you are human. *

 

* Denotes Required Field