1:1 ratio of sodium to calories


Pirate’s Booty, Aged White Cheddar (2017, B&G Foods, Inc.)

A general rule to follow should be that the amount of sodium contained within each serving of food should match the caloric content of the item. This can be considered a 1 to 1 ratio of sodium to calories.

Example from label: 190mg sodium > 140 calories in 1 ounce. Now this sodium ratio is fairly close. It could be deemed acceptable based upon other foods consumed with this product. However, this food should be avoided because it contains oil and is more than 40% fat. Always be sure to check the serving size, serving sizes vary greatly some serving sizes are listed in teaspoons, tablespoons, and ounces (oz) or grams (g).

For example: If an item contains 100 calories per serving and it contains approximately 300mg of sodium or more per serving it would be best to avoid this food. Try to find products that contain little to no added salt or are lower in sodium.

According to the American Heart Association ([AHA], 2016), Americans should limit their sodium consumption to “no more than 2,300 miligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults” (para. 1). Therefore, if our diet should contain approximately 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, that means for every 100 calories consumed, 100mg of sodium can be consumed. This equals the approximate 1 to 1 ratio of sodium to calories. The lower recommendation of 1,500 is an ideal goal. According to the AHA, “1 teaspoon salt = 2,300mg” of sodium (para. 6). Also, the AHA (2016) recognizes that the human body needs no more than 500mg of salt per day to function properly (para. 15).

Watch this video on “Label Reading: Soy Sauce Alternative is Worse?” by Jeff Novick.

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