How do I read a food label?

Most people with heart failure must limit their daily sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day.

In order to stick to your limit, youíll need to know how much sodium is in the foods you eat. This information can be found on packaged food labels.

When evaluating the label for sodium content, pay special attention to serving size and servings per container. The amount of sodium listed is per servingónot for the whole package. If you eat more or less than what the manufacturer considers one serving, youíll have to do the math.

Letís use this food label as an example:

Serving size = 1 cup

Servings per container = 2

Sodium = 470 mg

If you eat the entire container (2 cups) of this food, you will have consumed

470 mg x 2 = 940 milligrams of sodium

Another number on the nutrition label that can be misleading is the percent of daily value (% DV). When it comes to sodium, this percentage is based on 2,400 mg a day, not your goal of 2,000 mg. That means the sodium in a serving is actually a higher percentage of your daily limit than what is listed on the label.