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Two Gram Sodium Diet

(2,000 Milligrams)

What It Is

Sodium is a mineral found in many foods. We need it for things our bodies do, such as moving muscles and balancing water. When you stick to a 2 gram (2,000 milligrams [mg]) way of eating, you will be lowering the foods you eat that have it.

Why Limit Salt Intake?

Eating this way can put off or lower high blood pressure and holding in excess water. These can happen with things like heart failure and kidney problems. The foods you need to watch are table salt, processed foods, dressings, seasonings, fast foods, and preserved foods. Just one teaspoon of salt has 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium.

Some processed foods are canned foods, frozen dinners, snack foods, bagged or boxed starchy foods (seasoned rice, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese), baking mixes, deli meats and cheeses, sausages, and cured or smoked meats.

How to Eat This Way

Food Eat this...Not this...
Grains
  • Breads and rolls without salted tops, muffins
  • Ready-to-eat and cooked cereals
  • Unsalted crackers and breadsticks
  • Low-salt or homemade breadcrumbs or stuffing
  • All rice and pastas
  • Breads, rolls, and crackers with salted tops
  • Quick breads, self-rising flour, and biscuit mixes
  • Common bread crumbs
  • Instant hot cereals
  • Pre-made rice, pasta, or stuffing mixes
Veggies
  • Most fresh, frozen, and low-salt canned veggies
  • Low-salt and salt-free veggie juices
  • Common canned veggies and juices, such as sauerkraut and pickled veggies
  • Frozen veggies with sauces
  • Pre-made potato and veggie mixes
Fruits
  • Most fresh, frozen, and canned fruits
  • All fruit juices
  • Fruits processed with salt or sodium
Milk
  • All milk, but limit to a total of 2 cups daily
  • All yogurt
  • Most low-salt cheeses, such as ricotta, cream cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Malted and chocolate milk
  • Common and processed cheese, cheese spreads, and sauces
  • Buttermilk (no more than 1 cup per week)
Meats and Beans
  • Any fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, and some shellfish
  • Eggs and egg substitutes
  • Low-salt peanut butter
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Any smoked, cured, salted, or canned meat, fish, or poultry, such as bacon, chipped beef, cold cuts, frankfurters, sausages, sardines, and anchovies
  • Frozen breaded meats
  • Salted nuts
Fats and Oils
  • Low-salt or unsalted butter and margarine
  • All plain oils, low-salt salad dressings
  • Oils mixed with other, high-salt items, such as salad dressing
Snacks and Condiments
  • Low-salt or unsalted versions of broths, soups, soy sauce, condiments, and snack foods
  • Pepper, herbs, and spices; vinegar, lemon, or lime juice
  • Broth, soups, gravies, and sauces made from instant mixes or other high-salt items
  • Salted snack foods, olives
  • Meat tenderizers, seasoning salt, and most flavored vinegars
Drinks
  • Low-salt carbonated drinks
  • Commercially softened water

Tips

Reading Food Labels

TermMeaning
Sodium-freeLess than 5 mg per serving
Very low sodium35 mg or less in each serving
Low sodium140 mg or less in each serving
Reduced sodiumAt least 25% less sodium in each serving than the listed food. If the food has 1,000 mg, the same food made with reduced sodium would have 750 mg. Food that isn't “low sodium.”
Light in sodium50% less than in the main product
“No Salt Added” and “Unsalted”No salt was added. But the food may still have sodium.
RESOURCES:

American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://www.heartandstroke.com

REFERENCES:

Choose foods low in sodium. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/healthdisp/pdf/tipsheets/Choose-Foods-Low-in-Sodium.pdf. Updated December 2013. Accessed October 5, 2018.

Dietary considerations for cardiovascular disease prevention. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115449/Dietary-considerations-for-cardiovascular-disease-prevention. Updated September 11, 2018. Accessed October 5, 2018.

Shaking the salt habit. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp. Updated October 31, 2016. Accessed October 5, 2018.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN  Last Updated: 10/5/2018