AskNadia: Help with My Low Sodium Diet

My doctor has put me on a low potassium diet. I need a chart for foods I can eat. I only received a list of what I cannot eat. I am limited to 2000 milligrams of sodium a day and do not know how to count them.

Thank you,

Dear Nancy,

If your physician has put you on a low-sodium diet, this could indicate that you may have liver, kidney or hypertension that relates to heart disease. The positive thing about being on a low sodium diet is that it gives you an opportunity to learn about foods on a whole different level. Some people say when they get diagnosed with diabetes and learn to change their diet; to achieve the blood sugar levels they want, it’s the best thing that ever happened to them.

Now you get to refine your diet even further with a low sodium diet. The University of California San Francisco defines a low sodium diet as 2,000 milligrams of salt a day with one labeled nutritional serving to be no more than 140 milligrams.

UCSF has an easy to follow chart that can simplify the process for you. Their list gives you a great snapshot of what you can and can not eat.

You can print their list out by going to- . Make multiple copies.

Keep a copy in your purse or briefcase. Have anther copy in your car and a copy in your kitchen. This way when you decide to shop and cook, you have the guidelines to help you achieve success.

Once you have a handle on what you can eat, counting the sodium can be an overwhelming task. I would recommend downloading a free, low sodium App like “Sodium Tracker” and a fast food/restaurant low sodium app. You can purchase the “Dash Diet Helper” for 99 cents in the iTunes store. Not sure if you have a different smartphone or tablet, but start looking at using a device to help you track your sodium consumption. This way you are not dependent on writing the amount of sodium you eat on a piece of paper that may not always be handy. Even more frustrating, you can loose the paper you tabulated your sodium on. This simple act of misplacing something when you need it, can make you feel defeated and want to give up. As you get started on this new opportunity to refine your health goals, it’s worth taking the time out to set up a few systems that will help you succeed.

When creating change in my life, I always give thanks for where I am because it gives me an opportunity to create positive change that can build into other aspects of my life. It always does. When I start exercising; I automatically start eating better. There is a natural momentum for positive change that builds on itself. It does not take much effort once I surrender to the process. Foods work the same way. In fact, I find it much easier to eliminate foods and limit my choices. This way I don’t have to weight out too many options when I am hungry and can not think clearly. My default option, when I cannot think clearly, is a salad with grilled fish.

I wish you the best success in your new lifestyle. Keep us posted on your progress. The change will be worth it.

AskNadia and receive her unique perspective on your question.

Email Nadia at [email protected].


Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia holds 11 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

For 25 years, Diabetes Health contributes free copies of the magazine to healthcare professionals and pharmacies that use the publication as an educational resource for patients living with diabetes.

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