Is Salt the Same as Sodium?

by 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).
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!



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The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alex Ruani, Doctoral Researcher, leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where her team of accomplished scientists and PhDs are training a new breed of over 100,000 highly-specialised nutrition professionals who are leveraging the latest personalisation strategies to help their clients. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL Doctoral Researcher who is fanatical about equipping health professionals with the latest science-based tools so they can succeed in their practices – from identifying the unique nutrient needs to building highly personalised nutrition programs. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition biochemistry, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free email updates.

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