World Action on Salt & Health

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Reading Labels

Find out if the food you are buying you and your family is high in salt by looking at the nutritional information on the food label. Checking food labels lets you compare brands and varieties or flavours of products and choose those that are lower in salt. Adding up the amount of salt will also give you an idea of how much salt you are eating throughout the day.

Foods high in salt have more than 1.5g salt / 100g (or 0.6g sodium / 100g)

Foods low in salt have less than 0.3g salt /100g (or 0.1g sodium / 100g)

Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) are general guidelines for the average recommended intake of certain nutrients including salt. Products using this system will state what percentage they contribute to the total GDA. Remember the GDA for salt is a maximum and not a target. Remember that the GDA for salt for children are far lower. Look out for the GDA for children on the back of packaging.

Calculating the salt content of food

Some food labels may only state the sodium content.
To convert sodium to salt, you need to multiply the amount by 2.5.
For example, 1g of sodium per 100g = 2.5 grams of salt per 100g

You then need to know the weight of the serving portion in grams e.g. 30g

Then divide the concentration of salt per 100g by 100 and multiply by the serving size.
e.g. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies contain 0.65g of sodium per 100g and 1 bowl (serving) is 30g;

0.65g sodium per 100g x 2.5 = 1.6g salt per 100g
1.6 ÷ 100 = 0.01 salt per 1g of Rice Krispies
0.1 x 30 = 0.3g salt per 30g serving

The maximum recommended intake for the day for a child aged 3 is 2g. Therefore, 1 bowl of the breakfast cereal contains around one-sixth (15%) of the recommended intake for the whole day.

(Sodium content data collected December 2007)

Where salt is given per 100g, remember to think about how much of the product your child will be eating, i.e. whether this is more or less than 100g. Look at the weight of the packet as a guide.

Where salt is given per portion, size check the portion size stated on the packaging and decide if this is similar to how much of the product your child will actually be consuming. For example, a label may state that a quarter of the product is one portion size but realistically your child may actually eat the whole product.

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