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# Low salt diet

Video transcript

So, two words often
get thrown around and confused for one another. And I thought we would take
a few minutes to clarify the differences between
salts and sodium. And we know they're
related, but I wanted to get exactly
what the differences are, and how to make sense of all the
different numbers I hear around how much I'm supposed
to get every day. So, I always think for salts,
of my salt shaker at home. It sits right next
to my pepper shaker, and whenever I have dinner
I often reach for it. And sometimes I think,
am I eating too much of it or am I putting
on more than I should? And so I was thinking about
this in terms of a spoon. So if you have a spoon,
let's say a teaspoon of salt. And let's say I took
this teaspoon of salt-- here it is-- and I
weighed it on a scale. I would find that one teaspoon
of salt weighs about 6 grams. Let me write that here. So it's about six grams. And six grams is the
same as 6,000 milligrams. So that's the weight of
one teaspoon of salt. Now, the question comes up, how
much of that is from sodium? So, to answer that, we know that
sodium chloride, NaCl is salt. That is what salt is made of. And if I imagine there's
nothing in my salt shaker except for sodium chloride,
no ants have gotten in there, no other stuff besides
the sodium chloride, then I can assume that all
6,000 milligrams of salt is going to be either from the
sodium or from the chloride. OK. Now the Na, just be totally
clear, is the sodium part and the Cl is the chloride
part, that's what that means. And they actually, all atoms
have a certain atomic mass unit. So you can actually
weigh the atoms, and line them up by size, and
which is the largest in weight, and which is the
smallest in weight. And sodium weighs out
at about 23 units, and chloride is about 35 units. So this is chloride right here,
and this is sodium right here. And so if I was to
sum it up, I would get 23 plus 35 is 58 units. And units, just to say it again
or to write it out rather, is atomic mass units. So now that I have the
total atomic mass units, I can try to figure out what
proportion is from the sodium, and what proportion
is from the chloride. So for the first
part, the sodium, I can simply take the 23
units over the 58 unit total. The units cancel out. And that works out to about 40%. So that means that about
40% of the weight of salt is actually coming
from the sodium part, and the chloride part
is the rest of it. So I've got 35 units over 58
units, and that is about 60%. And again, the units
cancel out 60%. So I know that in
salt, 40% of the weight is coming from the sodium,
60% from the chloride. Got it. Now, I have to go
back to my teaspoon. In my teaspoon I had 6
grams, or 6,000 milligrams. So in that teaspoon, I can
just multiply by these numbers to figure out how much of the
weight comes from the sodium and how much comes
from the chloride. So the sodium gives
me 40% of 6,000, which, when you multiply
those two numbers you get 2,400
milligrams of sodium. And 60% times 6,000 is 3,600
milligrams of chloride. So now I know in
each teaspoon I have 2,400 milligrams of sodium. And now I've actually
looked and I've seen that there
are recommendations on how much sodium you
should get in your diet, if you're not having any
medical problems in general. So I'll call that a normal daily
salts amount, or normal amount. And this is regular, this would
be a regular amount of salts, and then there's
a low salt amount. So this would be
a low salt amount. So if you're on a
low-salt diet, we'll figure out how much salt
you're supposed to take in, or how much sodium you're
supposed to take in, and the same for regular. How much you should be taking
if you're on a regular diet. And I'm going to do it both
from a salt perspective and also from a
sodium perspective. So let's do the sodium
prospective first. So normal amount you
should get-- actually, let me write "per day." And let's do of sodium and
over here we'll do salt. So regular amount of sodium
you should get per day is about 2,300 milligrams. And on a low-salt
diet you should get about 1,500 milligrams. Now we know that 1 teaspoon
has 2,400 milligrams and 2,400 and 2,300, I think,
are pretty close. So in my conversion
I'm going to assume that that means I can have about
one teaspoon per day of salt. And on a low-salt diet,
you're recommended to have no more than about
1,500 milligrams of sodium. And if one teaspoon equals
2,400 milligrams of sodium, then 1,500 is about 2/3
of it, so that's about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt. So when I look at a
teaspoon of salt now, I just remember that if this
is my teaspoon, that if I'm on a regular diet I can
basically take one of them each day, not each
meal but each day. And if I'm on a low-salt diet
I can only fill it up about 2/3 of the way, and I'd
have to stop there because that's the limit of
sodium that I'm recommended.