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Salt (Sodium) in Common Foods


Salt contains 40% of sodium, and is used for food flavouring and stabiliser, also as a food preservative. It is estimated that we need about 500mg daily for vital functions of nerve and muscle functions in the body, as well as to balance water and minerals in the blood stream.


What happens when we take too much sodium in the diet?

High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and calcium losses may occur.

How do our body manage excess sodium intake?

Most of the time, kidney works to filter off excess sodium, however in people with too much sodium intake or impaired kidney functions, the kidneys have a hard time working the balance leading to accumulation of sodium in the blood. Sodium has a high affinity to water causing increase blood volume, meaning more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels.

Do you know what is the recommended amount of salt intake per day?

It is a total of 1 teaspoon of salt per day from all sources of food consumed. Recommended sodium intake for general population is 2400mg, which is just the content in 1 teaspoon of salt.  


Let’s take a look at the common foods available in Singapore, with their sodium content, based on energy and nutrient composition levels by HPB, and their respective % of the recommended levels.

Laksa 7904mg (329% of the recommended levels)

Sliced fish hor fun 3185.4mg (132.7%)

Fried fish beehoon soup with milk 2707.9mg (112.8%)

Ban mian sup 2196.5mg (91%)

Dry prawn noodles 1935.5 (80.6%)

Bak chor mee 1490.6mg (62.1%)

Claypot chicken rice 1281mg (53.4%)

Beehoon soup 856mg (35.6%)

Chicken rice with steamed chicken 697.95mg (29%)

Egg prata 403.1mg (16.8%)

Chwee kueh 1 piece 230.5mg (9.6%)

Chapati 119mg (5%)


Some of the common bakery buns and their sodium levels.

Cheese and ham bun 587.3 mg (24.5%)

Pizza bun 460.2mg (19.2%)

Coffee bun 425.6mg (17.7%)

Boluo bao 226.4mg (9.4%)

Steam sponge cake 106.4mg (4.4%)

Steam bao 83.2mg (3.5%)


Tips to cut down sodium in your meals.

  • Avoid processed and commercially-prepared foods components

  • Try to keep your sodium intake to be within 600mg per every meal (except snack).

  • Avoid finishing the soup and gravy of the dish.

  • Reduce added sauce and condiments to the dish.

  • Read packaging if available, and select products that contain lower than 120mg of sodium per 100g serving.

  • Choose to include more fresh foods in your diet such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meat and dairy that is naturally low in sodium.

Look for ML've Dietetic Service today if you would like to consult for sodium control.

(updated : December, 2019)

Disclaimer : The website may contain information relating to various conditions and treatment, gathered and sourced from reputable sources. However, this is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is solely intended for informational purposes only. Patients should always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider for thorough medical advice and information about diagnosis and treatment.


HPB energy and nutrient composition of food reference

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