HOW TO READ FOOD LABELS

Food Labels help you to meet your daily sodium goal. 

Read them while you shop. Then put high-sodium foods back on the shelves. You can also use the information on food labels to track how much sodium you eat in a day.

HOW TO READ FOOD LABELS

The labels below is from a can of soup. Get a can out of your cupboard. How does it compare with this one?

The serving size is the basis for all values on the label. In this case, 1 serving is 1 cup (half the can of soup). If you eat the whole can (2 servings, or 2 cups), you have to double all of the numbers on the label.

Sodium is given in milligrams (mg). How does this number compare with your daily goal?

Percent daily value gives the percentage of the standard recommended amount per day.

Check the ingredients list for salt. Also watch for high-sodium ingredients such as sodium phosphate, brine, monosodium glutamate (MSG),  baking soda, and any other ingredient that has “sodium” in its name.

WHAT DO THESE CLAIMS REALLY MEAN?

  • SODIUM FREE or SALT FREE means less than 5mg per serving.
  • VERY LOW SODIUM means 35mg or less per serving.
  • REDUCED SODIUM or LESS SODIUM means at least 25% less sodium than the standard version (This could still be too much sodium for you. Look at the label)
  • LIGHT IN SODIUM means 50% less sodium that the standard version. (This could still be a lot, so read the label)
  • UNSALTED or NO SALT ADDED means no salt is added to the product during processing. (The product could still contain sodium. Be sure to check the label)
  • HEALTHY and NATURAL have no nutritional meaning. Don’t be fooled into thinking that foods labeled this way must be good for you.