Labels that highlight lower sodium mean very specific, very different things. Here's a guide.
Text: Sidney Fry, MS, RD
May 18, 2011
1 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Salt Labels: What You Need to Know
When food companies make sodium claims, they have to follow labeling rules. For the consumer, the tricky part is that there are four claims. Two apply when a company is comparing their food to a loosely defined fully salted version. One refers to a specific sodium level, another to whether salt has been added. Bottom line: The amount of sodium per serving (found on the back label) is critical.
2 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Claim #1: "No Salt Added" or "Unsalted"
No salt is added during processing. This does not always mean sodium-free; some foods contain sodium naturally.
Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter (0mg) vs. Land O' Lakes Salted Butter (95mg)
Sodium Savings: 95mg per 1 tablespoon
3 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Claim #2: "Reduced"or "Less Sodium"
Must contain at least 25% less than the original food, a competitor's product, or another reference.
Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce (575mg) vs. Kikkoman Soy Sauce (920mg)
Sodium Savings: 345mg per 1 tablespoon
4 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Claim #3: "Light in Sodium" or "Lightly Salted"
Must contain 50% less than the original food, a competitor's product, or another reference.