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.
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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
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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
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Claim #3: "Light in Sodium" or "Lightly Salted"
Must contain 50% less than the original food, a competitor's product, or another reference.