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2 Gram Sodium Diet

What is a 2 gram sodium diet?

A 2 gram sodium diet limits high sodium foods in your diet. No table salt is allowed at meals or during cooking while you are on this diet. The amount of milk is also limited because of the amount of sodium it contains. A high amount of sodium in your diet can make your blood pressure go up and can cause other health problems. The goal of a 2 gram sodium diet is to prevent or lower high blood pressure. This diet can also keep your body from holding extra fluid. Problems with your liver and kidneys are another reason to follow this diet.

What can I do to make a 2 gram sodium part of my lifestyle?

Changing what you eat and drink may be hard at first. Think of these changes as "lifestyle" changes, not just "diet" changes. You may need to make these changes part of your daily routine. Following a 2 gram sodium diet may help to improve your health. Two grams of sodium is the same as 2000 milligrams (mg) of sodium.

  • Keep a list of items allowed on this diet in your kitchen to remind you about the diet. Take this food list with you to the grocery store to help you choose foods that are low in sodium.
  • Carry a list of items allowed on this diet to remind you about the diet when you are away from home. Tell your family or friends about this diet so that they can remind you about it.
  • Ask your caregiver, a dietitian (di-uh-TISH-in), or a nutritionist (noo-TRI-shun-ist) any questions you may have about your diet plan. A dietitian or nutritionist can work with you to find the right diet plan for you.

How can I use food labels to choose foods that are low in sodium?

Reading food labels is a good way to learn how much sodium is in foods. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to read food labels. Food labels list the amount of sodium in the food in milligrams. Avoid foods that contain more than 500 mg of sodium in one serving. Buy low-sodium substitutes for the foods you enjoy. Following are some words about sodium that may appear on a label.

  • Sodium-free: Less than five mg in each serving.
  • Very low sodium: 35 mg of sodium or less in each serving.
  • Low sodium: 140 mg of sodium or less in each serving.
  • Reduced sodium: At least 25 percent less sodium in each serving. For example, if the food usually has 800 mg of sodium, the same food made with reduced sodium would contain 600 mg of sodium.
  • Light in sodium: Fifty percent less sodium in each serving. For example, if the food usually has 500 mg of sodium in each serving, the same food prepared "light in sodium" would have 250 mg of sodium.
  • Unsalted, No added salt, and Without added salt: No salt is added during processing.
  • Lightly salted: Fifty percent less sodium has been added to the food than would normally be added. For example, if 1000 mg of sodium were normally added, only 500 mg would be added to a food that is "lightly salted".

What should I avoid eating and drinking while on a 2 gram sodium diet?

Breads, cereals, rice and pasta:

  • Breads, rolls and crackers with salted tops.
  • Quick breads.
  • Instant hot cereals.
  • Pancakes.
  • Commercial (store-bought) bread stuffing, self-rising flour and biscuit mixes.
  • Commercial breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or bread stuffing.
  • Rice or pasta mixes.
Fruits and vegetables:
  • Fruits processed with salt or sodium-containing ingredients, such as some dried fruits.
  • Regular canned vegetables.
  • Sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, and others prepared in brine.
  • Frozen vegetables in sauces.
  • Vegetables seasoned with ham, bacon, or salt pork.
  • Commercially prepared potato mixes.
Meats and meat products:
  • Smoked, cured, salted, koshered, or canned meat, fish or poultry, including bacon, chipped beef, cold cuts, ham, hot dogs, sausage, sardines, anchovies, crab, lobster, imitation seafood, marinated herring, and pickled meats and frozen breaded meats.
  • Pickled eggs.
  • Processed cheese, cheese spreads, and sauces.
  • Salted nuts.
Beverages and soups:
  • Malted milk, milkshake and chocolate milk.
  • Regular vegetable or tomato juice.
  • Commercially softened water (for drinking or cooking).
  • Regular canned or dehydrated soups.
  • Broths and bouillon.
Fats, desserts and sweets:
  • Regular salad dressings containing bacon fat, bacon bits, and salt pork.
  • Snack dips made with instant soup mixes or processed cheese.
  • Instant pudding mixes and cake mixes.
Seasonings, sauces, mixes, and other foods:
  • Seasoning made with salt including garlic salt, celery salt, onion salt, and seasoned salt.
  • Sea salt, rock salt, kosher salt, meat tenderizers and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Regular soy sauce, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and most flavored vinegars.
  • Canned gravy and mixes, regular condiments and salted snack foods.
  • Olives.

What can I eat and drink while on a 2 gram sodium diet?

  • On a 2 gram sodium diet, you may eat enriched white, wheat, rye, and pumpernickel bread, hard rolls, and dinner rolls. You may also include muffins, cornbread, waffles, and most dry cereals and cooked cereal without added salt. Unsalted crackers and breadsticks, and low-sodium or homemade bread crumbs can also be included.
  • Most fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables can be eaten. Be sure to choose low-sodium canned vegetables. Fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish and shrimp can be eaten, as well as canned tuna or salmon that has been rinsed. Eggs and egg substitutes, and low-sodium cheese including low-sodium ricotta cream cheese, and low-sodium cottage cheese are good choices. Choose yogurt, low-sodium peanut butter, and dried peas and beans (legumes). Low-sodium frozen dinners (with less than 500 mg in a serving) may also be eaten.
  • You may drink milk, but limit it to 16 ounces (two cups) daily. Buttermilk may be drank, but limit the amount to 8 ounces (one cup) each week. Eggnog may also be enjoyed. All fruit juices, low-sodium, and salt-free vegetable juices are okay to drink, as are low-sodium carbonated sodas and other drinks. Soups that are okay to eat include low-sodium canned and dried soups, broths, and bouillon. Homemade broth and soups made without added salt and made with allowed vegetables are okay to eat. Cream soups made with the allowed amount of milk are also good choices.
  • Fats such as butter or margarine, vegetable oils, unsalted salad dressings, or one tablespoon or less of regular salad dressings may be included in this diet. Light, sour, and heavy cream may also be included. Desserts and sweets made with milk should be counted as servings of milk.
  • Pepper, herbs, spices, and vinegar may be used, as well as hot pepper sauce. One teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce may be used each day, as well as two tablespoons of salsa or less. Use low-sodium condiments such as catsup, chili sauce, and mustard. Fresh horseradish, lemon or limejuice can be used to add flavor to meals. Snacks may include unsalted tortilla chips, pretzels, potato chips, and popcorn.

What other guidelines should I follow while on a 2 gram sodium diet?

  • Avoid using salt and ingredients such as baking soda and soy sauce that are high in sodium. Be careful to avoid these during food preparation, and at the table. Meals eaten at restaurants, especially fast food restaurants are often high in sodium. Some restaurants have nutrition information that tells you the amount of sodium in their foods. When ordering food at a restaurant, ask your waiter to prepare your food with less, or no salt.
  • Talk with your caregiver about using salt substitutes. Some salt substitutes have ingredients that may change the way some of your medicines work. Check with your caregiver or pharmacist about products that may contain sodium. Some of these products include antacids, medicine, toothpaste and chewing tobacco.


  • Eating more than two grams of sodium in a day may cause your body to hold extra fluid, causing you to gain weight. It may make your blood pressure higher. Eating more than two grams of sodium in a day may change the way your medicines work.
  • Very rarely, a two gram sodium diet may cause the amount of sodium in your blood to be too low. Low amounts of sodium in your blood may cause nausea, confusion, and make you less alert. Call your caregiver right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.