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Sodium
1. Function of Sodium in the Diet
Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in some
foods and is added to many foods and beverages
during processing, cooking, or at the table.
Sodium attracts water into the blood vessels and
helps maintain normal blood volume and blood
pressure. Sodium is also needed for the normal
function of nerves and muscles.
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2. Sources of Sodium in the Diet
1/3 of sodium comes from salt added to food
during cooking or at the table.
2/3 of sodium is naturally present or added
during processing.
Most of the sodium in the American diet comes
from table salt (sodium chloride).
40% - 60%
Salt to Sodium Conversion:
¼ teaspoon salt = 500 milligrams sodium
3. Recommended Dietary Intake
The safe and adequate amount of dietary sodium is
estimated at 1,100 to 3,300 milligrams daily for
adults and slightly less for teens.
4. Health Risks Associated with Sodium
High-sodium diets increase the risk of high blood
pressure among some people and aggravates
high blood pressure once it exists.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart
attacks, strokes, and kidney disease.
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5. Sources of Sodium other than Table Salt
• Bread and bakery products
• Cured and processed meats
• Canned vegetables
• Milk products (processed cheeses – highest)
(natural cheeses – lowest)
• Convenience foods
• Condiments (pickles, ketchup, etc.)
• Snacks
6. Sodium is added to many foods to flavor them or for
functional purposes.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda - Leaveners
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – Flavor enhancer
Sodium Benzoate - Preservative
Sodium Caseinate – Thickener, binder
Sodium Citrate – Buffer, control acidity in soft drinks
and fruit drinks
Sodium Nitrite – Curing agent in meat, provides color,
prevents botulism
Sodium Phosphate – Emulsifier, stabilizer, buffer
Sodium Propionate – Mold inhibitor
Sodium Saccharin – Artificial sweetener