back to all Diet Resources

What is a low sodium diet?

The main source of sodium in the diet is the salt added to packaged and processed foods and in foods from restaurants. Processed foods include prepared frozen meals, canned foods, pickled foods, snack foods, lunch meats, cheese, condiments, sauces, dressings, breads, cereals, and soda (including diet soda) just to name a few. Sodium found in processed food accounts for about 80 percent of a person’s daily sodium intake in a typical Western diet, and can quickly add up, even without the use of the salt shaker.

The body requires a small amount of sodium in the diet to control blood pressure and blood volume. However, most people consume many times the amount of sodium needed. A low-sodium diet contains fewer than 2.3 grams (2300 milligrams, or about the amount of sodium in one teaspoon) of sodium each day. People with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart problems can benefit from a diet that is low in sodium.