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Following a low-salt diet helps keep high blood pressure and swelling (also called edema) under control. It can also make breathing easier if you have heart failure.

Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet

Have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. With heart failure. Less than 1,500 mg a day is ideal

Low Sodium Diet

A main source of sodium is table salt. The average American eats five or more teaspoons of salt each day. This is about 20 times as much as the body needs. In fact, the body needs only 1/4 teaspoon of salt every day. Sodium is found naturally in foods, but a lot of it is added during processing and preparation. Many foods that do not taste salty may still be high in sodium. Large amounts of sodium can be hidden in canned, processed and convenience foods. And sodium can be found in many foods that are served in restaurants.

Sodium controls fluid balance in our bodies and maintains blood volume and blood pressure. Eating too much sodium may raise blood pressure and cause fluid retention, which could lead to swelling of the legs and feet or other health issues.

When limiting sodium in a diet, a common target is to eat less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day.

What Percentage of Fat Is Considered Low Fat?

Fat is an essential macro nutrient but is very dense in calories. Low-fat diets and products are marketed as ways to help maintain weight and health. Too much fat, especially the wrong kinds, can contribute to weight gain and heart disease. Too little fat, however, can feel ravenous and deprive proper nutrition. Low-fat diets contain anywhere from zero to 30 percent fat. Instead of focusing only on percentages, focus on the types of fat for optimal health.

Fat Significance

Fat contains 9 calories per gram, compared to the 4 calories found in a gram of protein or carbohydrates. Limiting fat can thus reduce overall calorie intake, leading to weight loss. A healthy low-fat diet contains enough fat to provide energy for the body, helps absorb certain vitamins to feel full. When eating less than 20 percent fat, you run the risk of feeling overly hungry. Fat is essential in a diet in order to lay a foundation for padding for internal organs and maintain proper hormone production.


The Institute of Medicine recommends consumption between 20 and 35 percent of daily calories from fats. Consuming less than 20 percent of calories from fat is considered a very low-fat diet, while limiting 20 to 30 percent of calories from fat is considered a low-fat diet. A typical 2,000-calorie diet that is low in fat contains between 44 and 66 grams of fat.

Low-Fat Foods

Foods labeled “low fat” contain 3 grams or less of fat per serving. A “fat-free” product contains less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving. Reduced-fat products contain 25 percent less fat than their full-fat counterparts. Just because a food is labeled low-fat does not make it healthy. Manufacturers often replace the missing fat with extra refined carbohydrates, sugar or sodium. Consuming nearly the same number of calories in a low-fat and traditional cookie, but overeating the low-fat versions because of the perception that they are healthier. Foods labeled “low-fat” can help maintain a healthy diet as long as they are eaten in moderation.

Fat Types

Instead of focusing only on the total percentage of fat in a diet, look at the types of fats consumed. Too much saturated or trans fats can cause health problems, including heart disease and high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends consumption of no more than 7 percent of your total daily calories in the form of saturated fats, found in full-fat dairy, poultry and meat. Limit the intake of trans fats — a man-made fat found in some commercially fried foods and processed snacks — to less than 1 percent of daily calories. Unsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, should make up most of the fat in a diet. This type of fat may actually protect against heart disease and support brain health.

For a low sodium, low fat calorie controlled meal plan as well as fresh never frozen and calorie controlled click here for The Fresh Plan


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