A. Helen Rasmussen, PhD, RD, FADA, LDN, a research dietician and dietary services supervisor at the HNRCA, answers: “Excess sodium intake may increase risk for high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, heart failure, stomach cancer, kidney stones/kidney disease, and headaches. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends adults aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 U.S. adults consume too much sodium—more than 3,400 milligrams each day, on average.
“One-quarter teaspoon of regular table salt contains 575 milligrams of sodium. One-quarter teaspoon of garlic salt contains anywhere from 190 to over 400 mg of sodium, depending on the brand, so replacing salt with garlic salt one-to-one will decrease sodium intake somewhat. In contrast, garlic powder contains negligible amounts of sodium. All kinds of herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to food without salt.
“Keep in mind that only 10 percent of the sodium consumed in the U.S. is added during cooking or at the table. The majority comes from processed and restaurant foods. Cook at home as much as possible, limit processed foods, and compare labels on the processed foods you do buy to find the products with the lowest amount of sodium.”