Monday, May 27 2024 - 4:44 PM
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Sodium Intake

Trying to track sodium intake in our diet can be quite a task… especially if we want to lower our intake. Our first thoughts might be to cut the fries and burgers, but what about those little extras we add to these foods? Condiments are some of our favorites but often come loaded with sodium.

How much sodium do we need? The 2020-2025 American Dietary Guidelines recommend getting no more than 2,300 mg of this mineral daily. This is equal to the amount of sodium in a teaspoon of salt. Only 1,500 milligrams or less are recommended for those with high blood pressure.

One of the best ways to determine how much we eat is to read labels. If you eat out often, ask the restaurant server for a nutrient breakdown of their menu items. This helps us to figure out how much we can eat of sodium-laden food. Cutting down on condiments is another way to cut down on it. Reviewing the chart below will help determine which condiments to reduce or eliminate from the diet.

The Sodium Contributors

Soy Sauce (1 tablespoon = 1,000 mg) – Low sodium soy sauce is still quite high. 1 tablespoon = 503 mg. Use soy sauce sparingly.

Barbeque Sauce (1 packet = 255 mg) – The amount of sodium varies. The amount here was found in a fast food restaurant barbeque packet. Other sauces may vary.

Ranch Dressing (1 tablespoon = 164 mg) – Usually, we eat more than just one tablespoon of ranch dressing on salads. We consume up to 10 tablespoons for one salad, which may mean 1,640 mg.

Ketchup (1 tablespoon = 167 mg) – Too much ketchup can increase sodium intake. Use ketchup in small amounts, or mix a one-half portion of ketchup with a one-half portion of tomato sauce to cut the sodium in half. Low-sodium ketchup bottles are available and contain 5 – 20 mg per tablespoon.

Mustard (1 tablespoon = 171mg) is slightly higher than ketchup. Read the label to make sure the sodium content is low. If not, use it sparingly.

Pickles (1 chip/slice = 34 mg) – Many pickled foods are high in sodium. Limit intake.

Mayonnaise (1 tablespoon = 73 mg) – Read the label and choose the lowest sodium-containing mayonnaise. Use a small amount on a sandwich, or thinly cover only one slice of bread to reduce salt intake. Low-sodium mayonnaise is available.

Bread crumbs (¼ cup = 525 mg) – Sodium in bread crumbs can range from 200 – 760 mg/ 1/4 cup. Reduce your intake of breaded foods and check the label to get bread crumbs containing lower amounts of salt.

Margarine/Butter (1 tablespoon 92 mg/101mg) – Replace salted butter and margarine with unsalted butter and use sparingly to avoid too much saturated fat.

Seasoned Croutons (4 cubes = 11 mg) – Reduce your intake of seasoned bread crumbs. Create your croutons from leftover bread.


If you liked this, you might also like Need to Limit Your Sodium? 

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

is a dietitian, photographer, and writer in Southern California.

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