Measuring Sodium

There are a couple good reasons for me to limit sodium intake. I very rarely eat at restaurants or eat prepared grocery items. So most days all my sodium comes from what is naturally present in food or what I add to it and that usually totals 1000mg or less. If I'm making a big pot of chili or tomato sauce I'll include the added salt, of course, but I don't try to log those tiny pinches, too small to weigh or measure, that get added while I'm cooking and eating. So I am under-reporting sodium but have no idea how much.

I made a salt can just for additions too small to count. Taped a paper label to it on which to record end of day total weight in grams. My scale displays only whole grams (1000mg) so one day won't mean much but a week or two should show me more than I know now.

There's a picture here. Don't know if you can see it though. :)

Sharing this because somebody has probably worked out a better way of doing it that they might share with me and somebody else might not have gotten around to thinking about yet.

If you don't have a reason to care about sodium intake this won't mean much (but why then are you still reading this?) and if you're cooking for a family it might not work as well, but it's a new idea to me so thought I'd share it.

"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

Comments

  • I too have taken the difference between the before and after weight at the end of the day to find differences too small to measure at the time of consumption. It also doesn't work very well if you're not the sole cook in the house, though!

    #AllTheDots

  • @OldHobo

    What a nifty idea!

    High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" since we often don't feel it's effects. Everyone should be wary of sodium intake since most people are eating way too much. The best way to reduce sodium is by doing what you already have - limiting processed and restaurant food (accounts for 90-70% of our sodium intake).

    I think your method will definitely work if you are the only way consuming the salt and you use approximately the same amount each day.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • It's been four days and the can is four grams lighter, so looks like about 1000mg a day. More than I would have guessed.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • 1g of salt a day is so little, especially if you're eating a plant-based and therefore most likely high-potassium diet!

    #AllTheDots

  • Well, I was getting 750 to 1000mg per day that I could I measure. Now it looks like another 1000 mg per day is being added one pinch at a time. I was hoping to be around 1200 to 1500mg per day, amounts commonly recommended for those of us with high blood pressure.

    In other words, the goal is 1.2 to 1.5 grams, and I'm closer to 2grams despite forgoing restaurants, fast food, and most of the stuff in the center of the grocery store.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • @OldHobo

    As Vicki mentioned, high blood pressure is so much more than sodium. To be honest, I'm happy with clients who are able to keep their daily intake to less than 2 g, provided they are eating the foods that also help to lower blood pressure.

    The tried and tested DASH diet that is recommended to treat hypertension was actually 100% plant-based initially; it sounds like you are doing a great job at controlling your BP. If you can, I would go do a few readings on yourself (either at home or at a pharmacy) to see if lowering your sodium to your current level has had any impact.

    Lastly, keep in mind that we each have a salt threshold (i.e.an amount of salt in our food that we are used to). We can reset this threshold by lowering the amount of salt we use by 25% at a time.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Weighing the "dedicated salt pinch can" didn't work for me. Don't need one more daily chore to remember to do. But I have a better, simpler way. :)
    Mostly for my aquaponics hobby, I bought an inexpensive scale that is more accurate for small quantities.
    I measured my one -finger, two-finger, and three-finger pinch several times. The results were consistent and tightly grouped for one and two fingers but varied wildly with three fingers.
    So I taped the following note to the monitor and that's what I'll log from now on.

    • 1 finger - .38g
    • 2 finger - .90g

    Your results will vary with
    1. brand of salt
    2. size of fingers
    3. style of pinch
    4. level of OCD
    ;)

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • @OldHobo

    Love the scientific approach to this! Great work. :smiley:

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • @OldHobo
    What means "1 finger" and "2 finger" ? Are you referring to "a pinch" and "two pinches" ?

    I apologise for my misspellings, as English is not my native language.

  • 1 finger - Thumb and index finger
    2 finger - Thumb, index and middle fingers
    3 finger - Thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • Oh ! Now I see. Thanks ! :smile:

    I apologise for my misspellings, as English is not my native language.

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