[THE QUESTION IN FULL]
Q. When comparing the label of a food, I am unsure what level of sodium is acceptable for a healthy diet. Please help!
A. Salt chemically is sodium chloride and it's the sodium part that matters. The recommended intake for adults falls between 920 to 2300 milligrams (mg) sodium a day, although the body needs much less than this to survive.
Round it off to 2000mg and that’s a handy even number as a day's total to remember when looking at labels. Note however that the average Australian consumes more than double this so we’re overdoing the sodium!
You can work out roughly how much sodium you're eating by totalling your intake from what's on food labels. A slice of bread has 130mg, a slice of ham has 400mg, a 50g snack pack of crisps 450mg and so on.
Vegetables, fruits, oats, milk, meat and fish have low amounts, say less than 20mg per serve.
Use the Per 100g or Per 100mL column on the right hand side of the Nutrition Panel to check how much sodium is present. Use these cut-off figures:
Foods moderate in sodium less than 400 mg per 100 grams
Foods moderately-high 400 to 600 mg per 100 grams
Foods high over 600 mg per 100 grams
By law, any product labelled 'low salt' or 'low sodium' - such as the low sodium vegetable juice pictured - must have no more than 120mg sodium per 100 grams.
Download a free Fact Sheet on salt and how to cut down