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Read the Label

Learn how to check food labels for high levels of hidden sodium in the foods you consume.

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High levels of sodium may seem "hidden" in packaged food, particularly when a food doesn't "taste" salty – but sodium is not hidden on the Nutrition Facts Label!

  • The Nutrition Facts Label lists the Percent Daily Value (%DV) of sodium in one serving of a food.
  • The %DV for sodium is based on 100 percent of the recommended amount of sodium, which is less than 2400 milligrams (mg) per day.
  • The %DV listed is for one serving, but many packages contain more than one serving! Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming – if you eat two servings you get twice as much sodium (or double the %DV).

Use the Percent Daily Value (%DV) to Compare Products

  • The %DV tells you whether a food contributes a little or a lot to your total daily diet.
  • 5%DV (120 mg) or less of sodium per serving is low
  • 20%DV (480 mg) or more of sodium per serving is high

You can also check the front of the food package to quickly identify foods that may contain less sodium. For example, look for foods with claims such as:

  • Salt/Sodium-Free → Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Very Low Sodium → 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • Low Sodium → 140 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • Reduced Sodium → At least 25 percent less sodium than in the original product
  • Light in Sodium or Lightly Salted → At least 50 percent less sodium than the regular product
  • No-Salt-Added or Unsalted → No salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium- free. Check the Nutrition Facts Label to be sure.

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