Written by Catherine Saxelbyon Friday, 06 August 2010.Tagged: food labels, guides, measures, MSG, salt
As a nutritionist, my aim is to help busy women eat healthily. One of the ways to do this is to follow the general nutrition advice to reduce the salt in your diet. So, how can you do this when what you’ll see on a food label and on any reubraintv-jp.commended daily intakes is sodium?
What’s the difference between salt and sodium?
Chemically salt is sodium chloride which is made up of one atom of sodium plus one atom of chlorine. While half the salt molecule is sodium, it’s not half by weight. You can’t just halve the weight of salt to find your sodium intake. Sodium is roughly 40 per cent of the weight of salt, with chlorine the remaining 60 per cent.
You are watching: How much is 5 grams of salt
Two ways to convert
To help you, I"ve put together my quick converter table in Step 1 or else use the handy rules in Step 2.1. Quick sodium and salt converter table
|Salt in grams||Sodium in mg||This is roughly equivalent to||Nutrition cut-offs|
|1||400||Good pinch of salt|
|1.25||500||One-quarter of a teaspoon salt|
|2.3||920||One-third of a teaspoon salt||Lower limit of the RDI|
|2.5||1000||Half a teaspoon salt|
|4||1600||¾ of a teaspoon salt|
|5||2000||One teaspoon salt||Aim for this as your maximum day"s intake|
|6||2400||1¼ teaspoons salt||Upper limit of the RDI|
|10||4000||2 teaspoons salt|
|12||4800||2½ teaspoons salt||Average intake upper end|
So, 5 grams of salt is equal to 2000mg of sodium, both of which are contained in one teaspoon of salt. If a recipe calls for one teaspoon of salt and serves 4 people, you"re getting one-quarter of a teaspoon of salt from it or around 500mg sodium per serve.2. Use the conversion rules
To convert the sodium to salt or salt to sodium, use these rules:Sodium to salt
To convert sodium to salt, multiply the sodium figure in milligrams (mg) by 2.5 and then divide by 1,000. So:
milligrams of sodium x 2.5 = milligrams of salt
Divide by 1,000 to convert to grams of salt
Example 200mg of sodium 200mg x 2.5 = 500mg salt ... then divided by 1,000 = 0.5 grams saltSo 200mg of sodium equates to 500milligrams or 0.5 grams of saltSalt to sodium
To convert grams of salt to milligrams of sodium
Divide the salt figure in grams by 2.5 and then multiply by 1,000 to get milligrams.
grams of salt ÷ 2.5 = grams of sodium
grams of sodium x 1,000 = milligrams of sodium
Example6 grams of salt 6g ÷ 2.5 = 2.4g salt ... then multiplied by 1,000 = 2400 mg of sodium So 6 g of salt equates to 2400 milligrams of sodium
How much sodium is too much?
Our sodium intake should be less than 2,300 mg per day, roughly a teaspoon (or 6 grams) of salt. Ideally, getting your sodium to less than 1600 mg per day is even better as it can help prevent ill health later in life. I suggest you use the mid-point figure of 2,000 mg sodium as a convenient figure to remember.
However, the average daily intake is somewhere between 6 to 12 grams of salt (or 6,000 to 12,000 milligrams) which roughly equates to 2,300 to 4,600 milligrams of sodium. This means we"re consuming double the amount we need.
Sodium - what"s low?
Sodium - what"s high?
More than 600 mg sodium per 100 grams is a high sodium food. This can vary from category to category e.g. any bread under 400 mg is considered acceptable, but for salty sauces anything under 1000 mg is a good achievement.
Other forms of sodium apart from salt
A food may contain NO salt (sodium chloride) but may still be high in sodium because of the presence of naturally-occurring sodium (as in celery or spinach) or other sodium containing ingredients and additives such as:
|Baking powderBaking soda||Sodium bicarbonate|
|Flavour enhancer||MonoSodium Glutamate (MSG)|
|Preservatives||Sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, sodium sulphite|
|Antioxidant||Sodium ascorbate (the sodium salt of ascorbic acid or Vitamin C). You"ll see this as an additive in many white wines under the additive code No 300|
ubraintv-jp.compare high, medium and lower salt foods
Look at these three categories of similar foods divided into the high, medium and lower category e.g corn flakes (highest in salt) vs weet-bix (medium) vs oats (lower). You will see the same gradation for baked goods such as croissants and crumpets and for soups.
High - over 600 mg per 100 g
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
1 metric cup, 35 g
Medium - between 120 and 600 mg per 100 g
2 biscuits, 30 g
‘Lower’ - less than 400 mg per 100 g but see note below *
Uncle Toby’s rolled oats
1 serve, 40 g uncooked
Less than 0.1
1, 57 g
1, 50 g
Sunblest white bread
2 slices, 60 g
Campbell’s Chicken Stock
1 cup, 250 ml
Continental Chicken Noodle soup
1 cup, 250 ml, 1 packet makes up 4 serves
Home-made chicken stock, no added salt
1 cup, 250 ml
Suggested daily maximum
Figures taken from food labels as at 2020
* We have classed these items as "low" ubraintv-jp.compared to other products. However, some of these do not meet the official government definition of less than 120 mg per 100g. However they are all under 400mg per 100g.
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Editor"s note: This article was updated in August 2020. Catherine Saxelby aims to help busy women eat healthily and keep up-to-date on the latest nutrition information. Sodium levels in general have reduced since this article was first published and the latest figures have been added to the tables.