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What Is Low-Sodium Chicken Stock?

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  • Written By: Carol Luther
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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Chicken stock is a liquid used to make soups or add flavor to roasts and vegetables during cooking. One prepares chicken stock by boiling a whole chicken or chicken parts with selected herbs, vegetables, salt and pepper. Low-sodium chicken stock is a healthier alternative to regular chicken stock. This type of chicken stock has 6 percent or less of the U.S. government’s recommended daily adult sodium intake.

Based on a standard 2,000-calorie diet, the U.S. government recommends a daily total of less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium intake from all sources for healthy adults. A low-sodium food has less than 140 milligrams of sodium per standard serving. Very-low-sodium products have 35 mg or less per standard serving.

Convenient to use, chicken stock is often available in cans or tetra packs. Depending on the brand, commercial versions of regular chicken stock can have an unhealthy amount of sodium in each serving. On average, retail versions have more than 30 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake for adults in 1 cup (250 milliliters), the standard serving. Reduced-sodium versions have less sodium than the manufacturer normally uses in a product or less sodium than competing brands. Fat-free versions often have a higher sodium content to counteract the flavor loss from the fat reduction.

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Before purchasing a low-sodium chicken stock, one should compare the serving size and sodium content to government guidelines. To avoid confusing the different versions of chicken stock, one can review the nutrition label on product packages. The U.S. government’s labeling laws, for example, require that food manufacturers provide details on the amount of sodium in products. These laws also prohibit packaging displays that imply that a product meets the government’s definition of low sodium when it doesn't.

Making homemade chicken stock allows one to be certain that the sodium content meets guidelines for low-sodium products. The principal ingredient in low-sodium chicken stock is chicken. Like most proteins, a chicken contains a small amount of natural sodium, but not enough to push the content of a homemade stock to a level above government guidelines.

Controlling additions to homemade chicken stocks allows one to make flavorful low-sodium chicken stock. Carrots, celery, onions, pepper and herbs are the basic components of an artfully seasoned homemade low-sodium chicken stock. Instead of salt, one can add sage, thyme, marjoram or other herbs that complement poultry. The judicious use of garlic and lemon juice helps to offset the lack of salt in a low-sodium chicken stock recipe.

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backdraft
Post 3

I find that the low sodium chicken stock still has more salt in it than I would like. I could make my own chicken stock but I really don't have the time or the inclination to take on a project like that.

The only solution I have been able to come up with is buying the low sodium stuff and then diluting it with some water. It also ends up diluting the chicken flavor but it's the only compromise I can see.

Ivan83
Post 2

I had a heart attack about five years ago and my doctor recommended that I go on a very low sodium diet. It was really hard at first because I was used to a much saltier diet than I realized. When I went low sodium everything tasted so bland and unsatisfying.

But once I got used to the switch I didn't mind it so much. I would rather taste the flavor of my food than the flavor of salt. But my wife used to make an incredible chicken and rice soup and it never tastes the same without that rich, salty chicken broth. I usually don't miss the salt, but that is one dish where I really do.

jonrss
Post 1

Most people would be surprised if they looked on the side of a can of chicken stock how much sodium it has. It's almost like a can of salt water that is flavored with chicken.

The best way to get a gauge for the sodium is to make a batch of chicken noodle soup with low sodium or ideally no sodium chicken stock. The difference in tastes is incredible. If you are used to the salty kind you will spend ages with the salt shaker trying to get the sodium count up to your standards.

Sodium has all kinds of negative health effects and it can be really difficult to avoid. The best way is to avoid processed

foods entirely. If you make it yourself you always know how much salt is going into it. But if you don't have the time to cook everything from scratch, try to seek out low sodium products when you are shopping at the store.

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