Salt: How Much is Too Much?

What is a low salt diet?

Nutrition Australia recommend adults consume a maximum of 2300mg of salt (or sodium) per day, which is equal to one teaspoon. This not only includes what is added to our food at the table, but also what is already in the food. It is estimated that on average, Australians consume 5500mg daily, over double what is recommended. Therefore, careful consideration is required to ensure that your diet does not contain excess salt.

 

Why is it important to follow a low salt diet?

A low salt diet is important for cardiovascular (heart) and kidney health. An excess of salt in the body can lead to an increase in blood pressure, risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, heart attack or heart failure.

As a lot of the foods we eat already contain salt it is not recommended to add salt at the table. In doing this, it can significantly increase our salt intake which can result in increased blood pressure and therefore more stress on the heart and kidneys.

 

Which foods are higher in salt?

  • Tinned spaghetti
  • Some cereals such as Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles and Bran Flakes
  • Olives
  • Baked Beans
  • Cured, smoked, canned or salted meat such as bacon, ham, corned beef, salami and sausages
  • All cheese (except ricotta) such as cheddar, brie, feta and parmesan
  • Butter, margarine and peanut butter
  • Vegemite
  • Premade Gravy
  • Sauces such as tomato, teriyaki, BBQ and soy sauce (even salt reduced)

How much salt is in certain foods?

Salt content in food

How do I reduce my salt intake?

  • Limit the amount of tomato/BBQ sauce added onto chips and meals
  • Choose a low salt cereal such as porridge, muesli or Weet-Bix
  • Limit bacon and sausage consumption at breakfast
  • Choose unprocessed meats on your sandwiches such as grilled chicken, roast lamb/beef or tuna, instead of ham and corned beef
  • Avoid adding excess cheese on top of pasta or salads
  • Using herbs and spices to add flavour to meals
  • Avoid putting out salt at the meal table
  • If you’re having a BBQ, choose unprocessed meat over sausages
  • When shopping, look for items that contain less than 120mg sodium per 100g of the product.

For more information, visit:

Queensland Government Health
Heart Foundation

 

Authors: Nikita Deo (Senior Dietitian) and Rachel Gray (Dietitian)

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