Estimates include consideration of several sources of sodium intake: foods, dietary supplements, antacids, tap water, and salt use at the table.
Estimation of Sodium Intake from Salt Use at the Table:
Regarding salt use at the table, sea salt, flavored salts such as garlic, onion, and celery salt, and seasoning salts were counted as ordinary salts. Lite salt was labeled as such and has a reduced sodium content of at least 50%. Salt substitutes do not contain sodium. To obtain a daily amount for each person, the amount of sodium depending on salt type was multiplied by the frequency value. (Sodium in type of salt x frequency amount of sodium from table salt added per day. See table below).
Type of salt:
For “ordinary salt,” sodium intake from salt use at the table was estimated based on a 1991 study that estimated mean sodium intake for adults to be about 580 mg. Specifically, 580 mg of sodium (which is about 1500 mg or ¼ teaspoon of salt) for the “very often” code was assigned for persons aged 2 years and older. For “lite” salt which contains at least half the amount of sodium as “ordinary salt”, 290 mg of sodium was assigned. A zero sodium value was assigned for “salt substitute”, “other” or “don’t use”.
Frequency of salt use:
For “rarely”, the sodium value was multiplied by 0.25; for “occasionally,” the sodium value was multiplied by 0.50; for “very often,” the sodium value was multiplied by 1. The frequency question was not asked if response to type of salt was “don’t use” or “don’t know”. For “don’t use” responses, a zero value was assigned; for “don’t know” responses, ordinary salt was assumed and 290 mg of sodium was assigned based on an assumed frequency of “occasionally”.
The following table summarizes the amount of sodium added:
Assignment of Sodium Values
| Lite ||73||145||290||145||--|
| Salt Substitute ||0||0||0||0||--|
* DK= Don’t Know
** Missing= Not Asked
Breast-feeding children aged 2 years and older are excluded from the analysis.