Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Sep 2015

Mineral / electrolyte diet - sodium - 50mmol

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To limit total sodium intake to 50mmol (1150mg) per day, to promote loss of excess fluid in oedema or ascites.


Strictly limits foods high in sodium.


  • congestive heart failure

A very low sodium diet has not been shown to be beneficial in managing ascites and / or oedema in advanced liver disease.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


No salt sachets are provided on meal trays.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Suggested meal structure

  • Breakfast: <15mmol (345mg)
  • Morning tea: <3mmol (69mg)
  • Lunch: <15mmol (345mg)
  • Afternoon tea: <3mmol (69mg)
  • Dinner: <15mmol (345mg)
  • Supper: <3mmol (69mg)

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes

<10mmol (230mg) sodium per serve

Plain roasted and grilled meat, fish and poultry

Some egg dishes

≥10mmol (230mg) sodium per serve (e.g bacon, sausages, pies, smoked fish, silverside, some mornays, lasagne, quiche, cheese-based dishes)
Sauces, gravies

Salt-free gravies and sauces

Apple and mint sauces

Commercial sauces such as tomato sauce, soy sauce
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice

<2mmol (46mg) sodium per serve

Plain steamed, roasted or mashed potato without added salt

Plain rice, pasta and unsalted noodles

Any rice, pasta, noodles or potato dishes with added salt or ingredients containing sodium e.g. potato wedges, scalloped potato

Fried rice


<2mmol (46mg) sodium per serve

All others, cooked without salt

Any vegetables served with cheese sauce

Soups<3mmol (69mg) sodium per serve

All other soups, e.g tomato


<12mmol (276mg) sodium per serve

Sandwiches made with low-salt bread and salt-free margarine

≥12mmol (276mg) sodium per serve (e.g ham, silverside, cheese sandwiches)

Chutney and pickles

Salads, dressings<12mmol (276mg) sodium for full salad, including salad dressing

≥12mmol (276mg) sodium per serve (e.g ham, silverside, cheese salads)

Canned vegetables

Breads, cereals

Low-salt breads and crackers (<120mg sodium per 100g)

Breakfast cereals ≤120mg sodium per 100g (e.g rolled oats, natural muesli, Just Right®, puffed wheat)

Bread and crackers with >120mg sodium per 100g

Breakfast cereals >120mg sodium per 100g (e.g Corn Flakes®, Rice Bubbles®)


Salt-free butter and margarine

Jam, honey, marmalade

Regular butter and margarine Vegemite™, Marmite™, peanut butter
Hot breakfast choicesPlain boiled, poached or scrambled eggs and omelettes, prepared with no added salt

Bacon, sausages, canned spaghetti

Egg dishes prepared with salt

Canned baked beans

FruitAll fruit-
YoghurtAll Yoghurt-

<6mmol (138mg) sodium per serve

Milk-based desserts, ice-cream, jelly

≥6mmol (138mg) sodium per serve (e.g many commercial desserts and pastries)

Milk and cheese

All milk

Ricotta and cottage cheese

Semi-hard and hard cheeses

Swiss cheese


Tea, coffee, cordial, soft drinks

Fruit juices Milo® powder, drinking chocolate.

Unsalted tomato or vegetable juice

Salted tomato and vegetable juice
BiscuitsLow-salt biscuits <2mmol (46mg) sodium per serve

Regular commercial biscuits


Herbs, spices, vinegar, lemon wedges, pepper

Unsalted nuts

Sugar, sweetener, cream

Salted nuts


Potato crisps and salted popcorn

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt sachets


  1. Food Standards Australia New Zealand. NUTTAB Online searchable database: foods that contain sodium. [accessed 13 Aug 2015].
  2. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 9th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2014.
  3. American Dietetic Association. Nutrition care manual. Chicago: ADA; 2009. [accessed 17 March 2010].
  4. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Position statement: the relationships between dietary electrolytes and cardiovascular disease. 2006.
  5. Queensland Health. Low salt diet. 2015. [accessed 13 Aug 2015].
  6. European Association for the Study of the Liver. EASL clinical practice guidelines on the management of ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and hepatorenal syndrome in cirrhosis. Journal of Hepatology 2010 vol. 53: 397–417
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