The upper limit for the daily intake is 2300 mg.
The average Canadian consumes around 3300 mg/ day, but many will take in over 7000 mg per day when eating out.
Nearly 80% of Canadians daily sodium intake comes from packaged processed foods and restaurant foods.
If you're exercising for hours and you're a salty sweater, you'll need more sodium, but I seriously doubt these manufactures thought that most of their customers are training for hours every day, thus resulting in an elevated upper sodium intake value.
CBC Market Place says the percent of daily sodium intake listed on most food labels is based on an intake of 2400 mg/ day, instead of the recommended 1500 mg/ day. What could possibly motivate a company to make percentage of sodium intake for daily needs appear smallar than it actually is?
You all know I love myth busting. Rarely am I more motivated to dig into something more intently than uncovering an urban myth where diet and exercise are concerned.
The column on the right in the food nutrition label shows the percentage of recommended daily value, the percentage of how much you need for a day. The recommended daily intake for sodium is 1500 mg.
For the nutrition label below, sodium is shown at 290 mg, which makes up according to this label, 12% of the daily need for sodium. 290 is 12% of 2416. That's 100 mg more than the 2300 mg upper tolerable intake, and 900 mg more than the recommended healthy intake of 1500 mg a day.
Here's the reality check on common food items:
Milligrams of sodium per serving size - percentage of daily intake
Organic yogurt: 85 mg 4% of daily value calculated daily intake = 2125 mg
Multigrain bread: 300 mg 13% 2307 mg
Skim milk 140 mg 6% 2333 mg
Almond milk 150 mg 6% 2500 mg
Vegan kale juice 80 mg 3% 2666 mg
Low fat mayonnaise 135 mg 6% 2250 mg
Low sodium Ketchup 60 mg 3% 2000 mg
Mustard 55 mg 2% 2750 mg
Canned pizza sauce 250 mg 10% 2500 mg
Canned kidney beans 350 mg 15% 2333 mg
Low sodium canned peas 15 mg 1% 1500 mg
Canned sardines 200 mg 8% 2500 mg
Tomato paste 20 mg 1% 2000 mg
Potato chips 180 mg 7% 2571 mg
"Healthy" potato chips 210 mg 9% 2333 mg
If you use the percent of daily intake on nutrition labels as your guide for your sodium intake, you will always be far above the recommend intake of 1500 mg/ day.
The only product out of these samples that based the daily intake of sodium on the recommended intake of 1500 mg a day was Safeway "Eating Right" low sodium canned peas. Hooray for Safeway!
But wait.. Safeway "Eating Right" multigrain bread used 2300 mg/ day, and Safeway brand tomato paste used 2000 mg/ day.
The superfood superstar, super expensive, ultimate-in-health-anti-cancer organic vegan kale juice? They think you need 2666 mg/ day of sodium.
Even within the same brand, you can't expect consistency, and don't expect that makers of health foods are beyond tweaking their values to appear more healthy than they actually are.
The percent of daily sodium needs value is bogus on nutrition labels. I wouldn't pay any attention to it. Instead, look at the total milligrams of sodium and do the math yourself, since food companies math can't be trusted it seems. Who knows if companies actually put in the amount of sodium they claim in the first place. This is self-regulated by manufacturers, there isn't any third party process in place that ensures nutrition label claims are accurate.
A final note: Sea salt has the exact same amount of sodium in it as regular processed table salt and affects blood pressure exactly the same; there is zero health benefit to using sea salt instead of regular salt. In fact sea salt might even be worse for you if it isn't fortified with iodine.
The Great Salt Shakedown, CBC Marketplace:
Marketplace tests the sodium levels in junior hockey players, masters swimmers, and non-athletes.
Government of Canada stats, info on sodium intake in Canada:
Reading food labels Health Canada