Low Sodium Soups for Kidney Disease


Low Sodium Soups for Kidney Disease

Canned soups are a common pantry staple. They are a convenient, quick and comforting option for when you’re feeling under the weather or just don’t feel like cooking. However, if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), regular canned soups are typically too high in sodium. You’ve probably checked out some lower sodium options – but you may be questioning if even those can work. With some knowledge on how to read labels and understanding of your sodium needs, you can find a canned soup that fits into a low sodium diet for CKD.

Sodium Claims on the Food Label

When browsing the soup aisle, you will see different claims on the packaging. Some examples of claims are “reduced sodium” and “light in sodium”. Be weary of these claims as they can be misleading at times. Let’s take a quick look at what these words on your soup can actually mean when it comes to sodium.

“Lite” or “light”

Don’t be fooled when you see the claim “lite” or “light” on its own as it has nothing to do with sodium! According to the Food and Drug Administration, a food can be labeled “light” or “lite” if it meets criteria of low fat and low calorie despite its sodium content.

“Reduced sodium”, “reduced in sodium”, “less sodium”, “lower sodium” 

This group of claims can be used if a soup contains at least 25% less sodium than the original product. If a soup contains 1,000 mg of sodium per serving, a reduced sodium soup can still have 750 mg sodium per serving. Soups using these claims may or may not fit into your sodium needs.

“Lite in sodium” or “light in sodium”

Lite or light followed by “in sodium” can indicate a good choice when it comes to sodium content. A soup can use this claim if it contains at least 50% less sodium than the original product. Amy’s Kitchen Lentil Vegetable soup has 1,200 mg sodium per serving and the light in sodium version clocks in at 450 mg (62% less sodium).

“Low sodium”

A soup that is “low sodium” will be easy to fit into your CKD diet. If you see this claim on your soup that means it should contain 140 mg sodium or less per serving. An example of a low soup soup would be Health Valley Organic Chicken Noodle Soup which contains only 130 mg sodium per serving.

“No salt added”

This one is pretty self explanatory. The “no salt added” claim means just that – there is no salt added during the processing. The final product may contain some sodium from natural food sources. While you don’t need to avoid salt 100%, this will give you lots of wiggle room with your sodium.

Since the definition of the claims can be tough to remember, I recommend always checking the sodium on the nutrition facts label to ensure you know exactly what you are getting in terms of sodium.

Potential Concerns with Low Sodium Soup

Potassium Salts/Additives

So you’ve found a low sodium canned soup, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best choices for CKD. With pressure to reduce sodium content of packaged foods, food companies sometimes replace salt (sodium chloride) with potassium salt (potassium chloride) in their food products. While this reduces the sodium content, it increases the potassium content. 

Not everyone with CKD needs to limit potassium, but it is still recommended to be cautious of potassium additives, such as potassium salts. Researchers have found that potassium additives are absorbed 100% compared to only 60% from whole plant foods. In order to know if your soup contains potassium salts or any other potassium additive, check the ingredient list and look out for any ingredient that contains the word “potassium”. 

Phosphorus Additives

Phosphorus additives are another ingredient that can wind up in any packaged food. The food industry uses these additives to preserve food, improve texture, prevent clumping and more. Too much phosphorus additives can be problematic overtime. Ideally you’ll want to avoid soups that contain any word containing “phos” in the ingredient list. 

Campbell's Healthy Request Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup. 1 cup contains 410 mg sodium, 820 mg potassium. Ingredients include phosphate and potassium salts.

Sodium Needs for CKD

Those with CKD are typically encouraged to limit sodium to help maintain healthy blood pressure. A low sodium diet can also improve the effectiveness of blood pressure medications and diuretics. But what exactly is a low sodium diet?!

The current guidelines suggest limiting sodium to 2,300 mg or less per day. That’s equivalent to  about a teaspoon of table salt. Keep in mind that your needs may be different as there is no one-size-fits-all diet for CKD, working with a kidney dietitian can help you determine your sodium needs.

How Much Sodium is Okay in a Soup?

What if I told you that a soup doesn’t have to be the standard definition of “low sodium” (140 mg sodium or less per serving)? Bare with me here. Remember your sodium restriction from above? Think of that as your sodium allowance and use it as you wish throughout the day.

Most people can consume around 500-700 mg sodium at meals and stay within their goals. This gives you some wiggle room when making a choice for a canned soup. Again, keep in mind that your sodium needs may be different from the standard recommendation.

When figuring out how much sodium you want in a soup, remember to account for the rest of the meal. Do you plan to have crackers, a crusty piece of bread or half a sandwich to go on the side? There is likely sodium in these things as well, so factor that in when making your final decision!

Best Canned Soups for CKD

Now that you know more about how to navigate sodium needs and label reading, here are some canned soups that can work in a low sodium diet for CKD. Whether you need to be more strict with sodium or follow the standard recommendations – there is a soup for your needs! The soups listed are also free of potassium and phosphorus additives.

BrandSoupSodium per serving (mg)Potassium per serving (mg)
Pacific FoodsGarden Tomato Oat Milk Soup410350
Pacific FoodsCumin Carrot Oat Milk Soup380150
Pacific FoodsCreamy Tomato Soup – Light in Sodium (1 quart box)340489
Pacific FoodsButternut Squash Soup – Light in Sodium(1 quart box)240230
Amy’sSouthwestern Vegetable, Light in Sodium550710
Amy’sLentil Vegetable, Light in Sodium540770
Amy’sButternut Squash, Light in Sodium520350
Amy’sSplit Pea, Light in Sodium510620
Amy’sChunky Tomato Bisque, Light in Sodium470930
Amy’sLentil, Light in Sodium450700
Amy’sMinestrone, Light in Sodium440610
Healthy ValleyChicken Noodle (No Salt Added)130110
Healthy ValleyVegetable Soup (No Salt Added)45250
Healthy ValleyCream of Mushroom390180
Healthy ValleyTomato Soup (No Salt Added)25200
Healthy ValleyMinestrone (No Salt Added)45300
Healthy ValleyChicken and Rice Soup (Low Sodium)100220
ImagineButternut Squash Soup, Light in Sodium (1 quart box)200390
ImagineGarden Tomato Soup, Light in Sodium (1 quart box)280460
Campbell’s, Well Yes!Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato540260


When choosing a canned soup, you not only need to be aware of sodium content, but potentially harmful additives. The use of potassium salts in lower sodium canned soups can be hazardous in those with CKD. Knowing your sodium allowance gives you flexibility when choosing a soup. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a warm bowl of soup without worry!



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Meet Lindsay

Registered dietitian and board certified specialist in renal nutrition