Sodium: a Hot Topic

Sodium’s been on the earth forever, so why is it still a hot topic today?


Salt being sprinkled into a bowl on a table

A matter of excess

While sodium is found in many popular foods around the planet, we know from research that eating (or drinking) too much can increase blood pressure.

High blood pressure

  • High blood pressure is responsible for around 1 in 5 heart attacks and half of all strokes1
  • Nearly 30% UK adults have high blood pressure2
  • On average, 190 people die each day from heart attacks in the UK2

Lowering the risk

We should eat no more than 5g salt (2000mg sodium) each day6. The government and food industry have been working together to reduce the salt content of foods in the UK.
  • Daily salt intakes have come down by 11% between 2005-2014 3
  • Reducing salt intake can start to reduce blood pressure in as little as 4 weeks4
  • It's estimated that reducing daily salt intakes by 1g could prevent 4147 premature deaths and saves the NHS £288 million each year4

It’s everywhere

Adding salt while cooking or dining only accounts for some of the sodium people consume. Many prepared foods can be high in sodium, and some is even found naturally in everyday foods and drinks.

Salt granules on a wooden spoon

 Naturally Occurring Sodium5 (per 100g)
Grilled chicken breast55mg
Semi-skimmed milk43mg
Buxton mineral water2.4mg*
Grilled king prawn305mg

*per 100ml

Besides being used to flavour food, sodium is also found in many special ingredients used to enhance or preserve food.

Sodium bicarbonateLeavening agent in batters, crispiness enhancer in breading
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)Flavour enhancer
Sodium benzoatePreservative
Sodium caseinateThickener and binder
Sodium citrateControls acidity in soft drinks
Sodium nitrateCuring agent in meat
Sodium phosphateEmulsifier and stabiliser
Sodium propionateMould inhibitor
Sodium saccharinArtificial sweetener


For more information about Nestlé’s nutrition, health and wellness commitment, please contact us.