Current sodium recommendations for people with diabetes are the same as for those without diabetes. For most people, it is recommended to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Adequate Intake (AI) of sodium is recommended at 1500 mg/day by the Institute for Medicine. People that consume more sodium are at higher risk of having high blood pressure. (1) People who have both high blood pressure and diabetes are sometimes advised to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium. For these people, advice should be individualized and come from their medical team. (2) 

five sodium lowering ideas for people with diabetesWhat does 2,300 mg of sodium look like? One level teaspoon of table salt has 2400 milligrams of sodium. This means most people should be aiming for less than this. If you divide this amount between 3 meals, you would have 766 milligrams or less per meal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses the following definitions for sodium for use on nutrition fact labels:
•    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 label to see the amount of sodium in the product. (3)

What are some ideas to keep sodium consumption at or below target?
1.    Soups and stews - These are notorious for containing great amounts of hidden salt. Make sure you look at the nutrition label on canned soups and stews before purchasing these items. It is not uncommon to find brands with over 800 milligrams per one cup serving. Many cans contain two servings. If a person eats the contents from the whole can, they would get up-words of 1600 milligrams of sodium. To enjoy soup and keep sodium in target be very careful to read labels. Numerous soups that are “reduced sodium” have over 400 mg per cup. Buyer beware!  A service of is to provide you with healthy delicious recipes that can fit into sodium budgets. I think that homemade soups have a wonderful flavor. If you have limited time, double the recipes and freeze the soup in serving size freezer containers. You will then be set to go when you need a quick meal.

Here are some soup links for delicious recipes:
2.    Cold Cuts, Cured Meats and Cheese - These products are especially high in sodium. If you really want to include them, look for low sodium versions. Meats that are not processed will have considerably less sodium per serving. Consider cooking a meat like a chicken and using it for lunch meat instead of deli meats. 

3.    Snack Foods and Pickled Items - Read the label and decide if snack foods can be part of your meal plan. A low sodium homemade substitution idea is to make popcorn and add herb blend that does not contain sodium.  Another snack idea is nuts without salt (it may be easier to find unsalted nuts un-cracked)

4.    Frozen Packaged Meals - These vary in the amount of sodium they contain. Remember to look for a meal that contains less than 766 mg of sodium. If other food is included at the meal make sure the total sodium does not exceed your sodium budget. 

5.    Canned Beans and Vegetables - Use canned beans and vegetables that are low in sodium. Rinsing canned beans also helps to reduce sodium concentrations. For a cost saving low sodium bean, cook dried beans from scratch. Beans freeze well after they are cooked. Fresh and frozen vegetables usually contain less sodium than canned.

Ask your medical team what amount of sodium that is right for you. Most people eat too much sodium. (4) If your medical team advises you to cut back, start by reading labels and keep track of the amount of sodium you eat.