You need, or at least want, to monitor your dietary salt intake. To that end, you read all the labels on the food cans, but you can’t figure out how much salt a serving of food contains. The label lists sodium, not salt—which is sodium chloride. Is there some simple way you can determine how much salt is in that can and how much is in one “serving?” That is what this very brief article is all about. After you have read it, please print it out, and clip off the simple mathematical converter equation at the bottom. Take it to the grocery store, along with your pocket calculator, and you should be quickly able to approximate without either, what the salt content is per serving.

**Sodium to Sodium Chloride**

The atomic weight of sodium, found in the chemical period table of the elements, is 23.0. Now sodium chloride – ordinary table salt – is one atom of sodium combined with one atom of chlorine. Chlorine has an atomic weight of 34.5. Since salt has two atoms united as one molecule, it has a molecular weight rather than an atomic weight, and that molecular weight amounts to 57.5. So if a can of green beans contains 80 milligrams (mg) of sodium, it contains more than that of salt. In fact, the exact amount is 80 times 57.5 divided by 23.0, or 200 mg of salt, two-and-a-half times the amount of sodium.

**Determining Salt per Serving**

So far, we’ve determined that the salt in a can of green beans amounts to 200 mg, even though the can reads that it contains only 80 mg of sodium. How much salt per serving will the purchaser consume, if he or she sticks to the serving size suggested on the can? Simple division of the total salt by the number of servings in the can gives the result. For example, if the label says the can contains two servings, then each serving contains 100 mg of salt.

**Convert Milligrams Salt to Teaspoons Salt**

One milligram is a relatively small quantity of table salt. A mere one-teaspoon of granulated salt contains some 2325 milligrams. So in the case of our can of green beans, the entire can contains something less than one-tenth (1/10) teaspoon of salt. A serving is half that, or less than one-twentieth (1/20) of a teaspoon. This example well illustrates the working of our final sodium to salt conversion formula.

Note: the Mayo Clinic says the suggested maximum salt intake per day, even for the average person is less than one teaspoonful. Those with health issues or who are part of an at-risk group should consume considerably less.

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**Milligrams Sodium to Teaspoons Salt Converter**

Teaspoons Salt = Milligrams Sodium x 0.00043

Quick Reminder: to obtain the teaspoons of salt in a serving, divide the total teaspoons of salt in the can by the number of servings it contains, according to its label.

Our water has 1.3 milligrams/liter. How do I calculate the amount in one cup?

There are 4.5 cups in a liter of water. Therefore, sodium is 1.3 divided by 4.5. This equals 0.29 milligrams sodium per cup. This, multiplied times 0.00043 gives something under one-thousandth of a teaspoon of salt per cup of water. For all practical purposes, this is ZERO teaspoons.