The recommendation for sodium intake for people with diabetes is the same as for the general population. For most people, 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day is recommended. For people with high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or kidney disease, 2,000 mg of sodium might be better. A teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,300 mg of sodium. The average person consumes between 4,000 and 6,000 mg of sodium per day. When reducing sodium in your diet, it might take 2 to 3 months for your taste buds to adjust to the change. The following tips will help you lower the sodium in your diet:

  • Choose fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Do not add salt to food before or after cooking.
  • Avoid salty foods such as bacon, sausage, lunch meat, cheese, pretzels, chips, and most packaged or prepared food.
  • When reading labels, look for "low sodium" or "no salt added" foods. Look for levels less than 140 mg/serving.
  • When selecting from frozen or packaged entrees, choose those with fewer than 600 mg of sodium per serving.
  • Salad dressing and condiments — such as sauces, pickles, olives, mustard, and catsup — are high in sodium. Use sparingly or choose low-sodium varieties.
  • Use other seasonings such as herb/spice blends with no salt added to flavor foods.
  • Check with your doctor or dietitian before using a salt substitute as it may be too high in potassium and can interact with certain medications.
  • When eating out, be selective. Request that your food be prepared without salt or high-sodium ingredients.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/29/2013.

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