Why is sodium used to label the salt content in foods when it is not actually referring to the metal?

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Why is sodium used to label the salt content in foods when it is not actually referring to the metal?

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It is talking about the metal. Other substances besides sodium chloride can raise the sodium content of foods one being monosodium glutamate

It actually *is* referring to the metal. Salts are ionic compounds, which means when dissolved in water they separate out into their constituent ions. Our bodies need sodium (and potassium and calcium, and many other metals that form salts). Just eating “salt” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting sodium ions. So, packaging often writes out sodium and potassium separately, because it’s useful to know how much of these ions specifically are in the food, rather than just salts in general.

Sodium in your diet refers to NaCl or Sodium Chloride, which is a chemical compound where the primary component is Sodium (Na) and the common name is “salt”.

People don’t consume straight Na.

People do consume NaCl (salt) and in dietary terms they call that “sodium”.