Your favorite yogurt could be hiding more sodium than a single-serving bag of chips!

Brierley Horton, M.S., R.D.; Reviewed by Jess Ball, M.S., R.D.
August 05, 2020
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When you think of potato chips, chances are you think of salty, crunchy goodness, right? And seeing that sodium is a nutrient that we're cautioned to be mindful of, potato chips inherently fall into the category of processed foods we should probably limit.

Though we need to eat some sodium to keep our bodies running efficiently, too much salt isn't a good thing and it can cause us to retain water or cause more serious health problems—especially if you suffer from conditions like high blood pressure.

While enjoying a salty snack every once in a while can be part of a healthy diet, it's important to be aware of some sneaky places where sodium could be hiding. Here are 10 foods with more sodium than a bag of potato chips (or about 15 chips).

Credit: Getty / FuatKose

First what's in potato chips?

In a 1-ounce serving of LAY'S Classic Potato Chips (about 15 chips), here's what you get:

  • Calories: 160
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 15g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: <1g
  • Sodium: 170mg
  • Potassium: 350mg

Quick side note: potatoes, and potato chips, are a decent source of potassium. In fact, those 350 milligrams of potassium in a single serving of potato chips are 6% of your daily goal! Not only is potassium a nutrient that most Americans fall short on, but potassium also helps offset excess sodium in your body.

There are 170 milligrams of sodium in a single serving of potato chips. What does that actually mean? Well, it's 7% of your daily recommended limit (which is 2,300mg or about 1 teaspoon of salt) for healthy adults. It's 11 percent of the stricter 1,500 milligram limit—and that cap is for those who have high blood pressure, salt sensitivity or other conditions that would up their heart-health risk. So—big picture view here—from a sodium standpoint, LAY'S aren't all that "offensive."

Plus, according to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, savory snacks like potato chips have a fairly low sodium density—meaning the milligrams of sodium per calorie of food eaten is lower than say that of pre-made soups and cold cuts.

That said, potato chips are a packaged food and research shows the bulk of our sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Potato chips also make the list of the top 25 foods that add sodium to our diets.

So, if LAY'S Classic Potato Chips are just middle-of-the-road offensive, what other commonly eaten foods are more sodium egregious? Let's take a look.

10 Foods with More Sodium Than a Bag of Potato Chips

  1. Canned Soup (1 cup): as much as 830 milligrams
  2. Refrigerated biscuits: 528 milligrams
  3. Black beans (salted, canned, ½ cup): 461 milligrams
  4. Parmesan cheese (1-ounce): 333 milligrams
  5. Salad dressing (one serving, usually 2 Tbsp): 304 milligrams
  6. Roasted Turkey Deli Meat (1 ounce, or 1 slice): 251 milligrams
  7. 1 French Roll: 218 milligrams
  8. Cheddar Cheese (1 ounce, or 1 slice): 180 milligrams
  9. 1 cup Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt: 162 milligrams
  10. Ketchup (1 Tbsp): 160 milligrams

The Bottom Line

Remember that sodium is just part of the full diet picture. Sure, a slice of deli turkey delivers more sodium than a serving of potato chips, but you also get more protein and less fat. Beans, as another example, deliver fiber, several nutrients and protein. But that also doesn't mean that there isn't room for potato chips in your diet. They're crunchy and delicious and not devoid of nutrition.