Questions about salt

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Answers to the most common questions about salt, including high salt foods, how one salt compares to another and how much is safe to eat.

What is the difference between salt and sodium?

Salt is a mineral and is made up of sodium and chloride, but it’s the sodium in salt that is bad for your health. Although health professionals talk about salt, it is the sodium that is listed on food labels in supermarkets and what we should be keeping track of.

How much salt should I be consuming daily?

The average Australian should aim to consume less than 5 grams of salt a day, which is less than 1 teaspoon. Most of us are exceeding this with the average Australian consuming about 9 grams daily.

Are different types of salt better for me than others?

Unfortunately, salt is salt. It doesn’t matter if its pink, red, black, natural or in crystal form, it all has the same effect on the body. Although some natural salts may provide other minerals to the body, the sodium content will be the same.

Learn more about salt.

Which foods are highest in salt?

You might think that you consume the most salt when you add this condiment to foods you are cooking. However, most of the salt we eat is “hidden” in processed foods.

Most people already know that foods including chips and bacon are high in salt. What might surprise you is the high levels of salt in foods that just don’t taste salty, this can include sauces, frozen meals, biscuits and cakes.

75% of the salt we eat is found in processed foods. When you hear the term “processed foods” your first thoughts are likely to be salty chips or biscuits. However, this refers to any food that has been altered in some way, including foods that have been frozen, tinned or packaged.

Almost all packaged food items you find on supermarket shelves are considered to be processed foods. This doesn’t necessarily mean these foods are unhealthy, for example packaged lentils are a healthy food, but you should check their salt content.

How do I know how much salt is in my food?

The best way to check the salt levels in any packaged food is to read the Nutrition Information Panel on the back of the packet.

Tips on reading the Nutrition Information Panel.

How do I cut back on salt?

Use herbs and spices instead makes a big difference. You can eat less salt, sugar and fat following these simple steps.

Discover herbs and spices you can substitute for salt.