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Familiarising yourself with food labels Part 2: Salts

Posted by Aisling Murray on

Familiarising yourself with food labels

Part 2: Salts

This is a continuation of last week’s article. Last week I discussed sugars; this week i discuss salt.

Salt content of food

In Ireland we are currently consuming too much sodium which is leading to health complications such as elevated blood pressure, which in turn leads to more serious complications like heart disease and even stroke. Despite what you may think, the salt shaker is not the cause of too much sodium in the diet. Over 75% of dietary sodium comes from prepacked and processed foods, with only 11% comes from salt added to food.

Irish adults are advised not to eat more than 6g salt per day. So if you see, a sodium value on a label, multiply that number by 2.5 to get your salt intake e.g. 0.4g sodium = 1g salt.

The majority of sodium comes from foods like, breads, cheese, cold cut meats, pizza, packet soup, savoury snacks, pasta sauces etc.


Salt and Sodium: Defined

The words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Salt is used to flavour and preservative in food and Sodium is a mineral, and one of the chemical elements found in salt.


What It Says

What It Means


Less 0.005g of sodium, or .0125g salt per 100g.

Very Low Sodium

Less 0.04g of sodium, or .1g salt per 100g or per 100ml.

Low Sodium

Less 0.12g of sodium, or .3g salt per 100g or per 100ml

Reduced Sodium

At least 25% less sodium than the regular product

Light in Sodium or Lightly Salted

At least 50% less sodium than the regular product

No-Salt-Added or Unsalted

No salt is added during processing – but these products may not be salt/sodium-free unless stated


How do I pick the best or healthiest product?

There is no method that applies to picking the best or healthiest product. One may have a lower calorie count, but what if it has a higher salt or fat content than another? Often, the ingredient label will reveal a great deal about the product. Choosing which product to buy should be down to personal choice and based on dietary requirements.







Whelehans Nutrition Service

Whelehans nutritional service is a private one to one advice service with our nutritionist Aisling Murray. Aisling’s areas of interest include weight loss management, nutrition education and food intolerance. Our nutrition service offers you the chance to change your life in a positive way by focusing on your overall wellbeing as well as the chance to follow up on your progress


Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment. Aisling’s Nutriton Clinic costs only €10 per week.



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