Salt Terminology

One of the best ways to reduce your sodium
consumption is to read labels

Plate full of salt

Plate full of salt

Before you snatch up that can of low-sodium beans, convinced it fits on your low-sodium diet, you need to know what the phrases really mean. Also, keep in mind the relatively small size of a "serving" as listed on most labels, since few of us really stick to those servings. If a 1/2-cup serving contains 150 milligrams of sodium, but your typical serving is closer to 2 cups, you're really getting 600 milligrams.

Phrase What it Means
Sodium free or salt free Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Very low sodium 35 mg or less per serving
Low sodium 140 mg or less per serving
Low-sodium meal 140 mg or less per 3.5 oz
Reduced or less sodium At least 25 percent less than the regular version
Light in sodium 50 percent less than the regular version
Unsalted or no salt added No salt added to the product during processing

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute