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Food and Nutrition

What’s Your Sodium IQ?

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Take this quick quiz to see how sodium savvy you are.

1. Sodium is found in salt and may also be part of food additives and preservatives.

Answer: True.

Sodium is a mineral that is found in food and in table salt. Read the ingredient list and look for these words:

  • Disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium benzoate, sodium gluconate, sodium nitrate, sodium proprionate
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Brine
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Salt such as celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, table salt
  • Soy sauce

2. Most of the sodium in the foods we eat is from the salt we add to our food during cooking and at the table.

Answer: False.

Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods like deli meats, pizza, sauces and soups.

3. By weight, kosher salt, sea salt, fleur de sel, gourmet salt and smoked salt contain less sodium than table salt.

Answer: False.

They are not healthier choices. All types of salts are high in sodium.

4. Most Canadians eat ________ sodium each day.

Answer: Most Canadians, including children, eat too much sodium each day. Most Canadians eat about 3400 mg of sodium each day. This is more than double the amount of sodium we need!

5. Eating too much sodium can lead to:

Answer: All of the above.

Eating too much sodium may lead to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

6. The % Daily Value (% DV) for sodium for this product is 36%. That means that it contains:

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 bowl (300g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 440
Fat 19 g 29 %
Saturated 4 g
+ Trans 0.2 g
21 %
Cholesterol 35 mg
Sodium 860 mg 36 %
Carbohydrates 53 g 18 %
Fibre 4 g 16 %
Sugars 6 g
Protein 15 g
Vitamin A 45 %   Vitamin C 4 %
Calcium 20 %   Iron 20 %
Answer: A lot of sodium.

The % DV is an important part of the Nutrition Facts table. It will help you quickly see if a food has a little or a lot of sodium.

As a rule of thumb, remember the following numbers:

Daily Value
5% DV or less is a little.
15% DV or more is a lot.

Sodium is a nutrient we want less of. If you choose to eat this food, try to limit the amount of sodium you eat in other foods for the rest of the day.

7. Frozen meals are good choices when you're trying to eat less sodium.

Answer: False.

Although quick and easy, frozen meals can have a lot of sodium in even a single portion sometimes more sodium than you should eat in a day! Check the % Daily Value on the Nutrition Facts table to see if the meal contains a little or a lot of sodium.

8. Using herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends are ways to add flavour when cooking and eating food, without adding sodium.

Answer: True.

It's easy to make foods tasty without using salt. Make sure to check the nutrition label on spice blends to ensure they are salt- and sodium-free.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Basil tastes great with tomatoes and pasta
  • Cumin adds flavour to soups, stews and sauces
  • Curry good with meat, poultry and stews
  • Dill wonderful with fish, potatoes and eggs
  • Oregano perfect in pasta, soups and salads
  • Paprika good with seafood, vegetables, potato salad and eggs
  • Rosemary delicious with chicken, lamb and pork
  • Thyme tasty with chicken, veal, salads and vegetables

9. Which foods are often high in sodium?

Answer: All of the above.

Most luncheon meats, soy sauce and canned soups are high in sodium. Packaged and ready-to-eat foods, fast foods and restaurant meals are also often high in sodium. Check the % Daily Value and choose foods that are lower in sodium.

10. Which has less sodium?


Answer: Pasta with olive oil and cheese.

Canned/jarred spaghetti sauce tends to be high in sodium. Be careful how much store-bought sauce you spoon over your pasta. Better yet, make your own sauce with fresh tomatoes or low-sodium canned tomatoes, herbs and spices.

11. It is okay for children to have more sodium than adults because they generally are more active.

Answer: False.

Children actually need less sodium than adults. Childrens food preferences are developed early in life. Feeding children food lower in sodium may help them to develop healthy eating habits for life.

0-3 = Sodium Sensible

So you learned something new today! Share your newfound knowledge with friends and family and encourage them to do the same. Slash the sodium in your diet to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

4-7 = Sodium Savvy

Everyday is a new day to make a change. Use what you know and what you learned to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Its a battle against sodium and you are in control. Spread the word on sodium and encourage others to do the same.

8-11 = Sodium Scholar

Knowledge is power! You are in control of reducing your risk of disease, so take action against high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease NOW by cutting back on the sodium in your diet. Spread the word on sodium and encourage others to do the same.

For more information on sodium visit www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/sodium