Hidden salt

Australians are consuming up to 10 times the amount of sodium we need for good health.
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03.Be salt aware

Here is how you can be more salt-aware:

  • Avoid processed, prepared and pre-packaged foods.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and minimise high sodium soups, sauces and condiments, canned and preserved goods and prepared mixes. Keep takeaways and fast foods such as burgers, fried chicken and pizza to an occasional treat.
  • Know your recommended sodium intakes. Use the NHMRC adequate and upper daily intakes to guide your dietary sodium consumption.
  • Check nutritional information labels. Compare products, brands and varieties and choose lower sodium options (<120mg/100g) where possible and avoid high sodium (> 600mg/100g) foods.
  • Consider serving sizes. How much are you eating? Even low sodium products can supply a lot of sodium if eaten in large amounts.
  • Read ingredients lists. Salt (rock, sea, celery, garlic), baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, celery salt, garlic salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG, additive 621) are all high sodium ingredients.
  • Remove the salt shaker from the table and don’t add salt to your children’s food when cooking.
  • Avoid sodium heavyweights such as packaged stock, Asian sauces - like soy, oyster and fish, mustard, pickles and mayonnaise; at the very least, choose low-salt varieties.
  • Use alternatives. Lemon juice, garlic, vinegar or herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking.
  • Choose salt-free or low-sodium products. Retrain your tastebuds; research shows that our sensitivity to ‘saltiness’ increases so less salt is needed.
  • Check your meds. Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs may contain sodium. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about yours if you need to reduce your dietary sodium.

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Using nutritional information panels

Salt nutrition informationAverage serving size and servings per package are chosen by the manufacturer so can vary between brands as well as product type. Always check the serving size: if you're eating more than the recommended serve, you'll be exceeding the "quantity per serving information" in the panel.

Quantity per serving is helpful when consuming single serve products. Check serving size and servings per pack to determine nutritional information for multi-serve products.

Quantity per 100g is a handy way to compare products that have different weights or serving sizes. Use this information to determine whether a food is high or low in sodium.

% daily intake [%DI] for sodium is based on 2300mg, which is the maximum recommended daily intake for adults; 1600mg is the NHMRC’s suggested daily target while 460-920mg is an adequate adult intake for good health.

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