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Nutrition Label Reading

Nutrition labels provide important information to avoid unwanted sodium.

Labels can be misleading

Many food companies market their products as Heart Healthy and Lower in Sodium. Unfortunately, these claims can be misleading to the consumer. The only labels that are protected by the FDA are No Sodium [meaning the product has less than 5 mg of sodium], Very Low Sodium [less than 35 mg sodium] and Low Sodium [less than 140 mg sodium]. Reduced Sodium labels can be evasive. This label means that the product has 25% less sodium than the original recipe. The reduced sodium food could still have a considerable amount of sodium is the original recipe is very high in sodium. Read the Nutrition Facts food label, located on the back or side of the container, to know if a food is truly low in sodium. Look for foods with less than 140 mg of sodium per serving and keep your total daily sodium to to less than 1,500-2,000 mg for a low sodium diet. 

Serving Size Matters

Always check the serving size and servings per container on the food label. Many foods containers appear to be single-servings, like canned soup or chips, but actually have 2 or more servings per container. It is important to measure out the proper portion or, if you eat the whole container, multiple the sodium amount by the serving size.

For example, the sample food label on the right, is very low in sodium at 50 mg per serving. However, if you consume at the whole container, you are actually getting 200 mg of sodium; a lot more sodium than you may have planned!

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