Background: Sodium intake in the USA exceeds recommendations. The replacement of added sodium chloride (NaCl) with potassium chloride (KCl) provides a potential strategy to reduce sodium intake.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to quantitatively estimate changes in intakes of sodium and potassium by the US population assuming use of potassium-based NaCl replacers in top dietary sodium sources.

Methods: Data collected in the What We Eat in America (WWEIA) component of the 2015–2016 and 2009–2010 NHANES were used to identify top-ranking sources of dietary sodium among the population aged 2 y and older based on contributions from food categories aligning with the FDA draft guidance for voluntary sodium reduction. Predicted nutrient intakes were estimated in models assuming total and feasible and practical (F&P) replacement of added NaCl with KCl in foods and ingredients within the top food sources of sodium. An expert elicitation was conducted to collect information on the F&P KCl replacement of added NaCl.

Results: Using 2015–2016 consumption data, the total replacement of added NaCl with KCl in the 18 top-ranking sources of dietary sodium results in a predicted sodium intake of 2004 mg/d from the replacement of 1406 mg/d sodium with 1870 mg/d potassium as KCl. Modeled F&P replacement predicted sodium intakes of 3117 mg/d (range of 2953 to 3255 mg/d) from the replacement of 294 mg/d sodium (155 to 457 mg/d) with 390 mg/d potassium (206 to 608 mg/d). Similar results are seen with 2009–2010 data.

Conclusions: The F&P replacement of NaCl with KCl in top-ranking sources of dietary sodium modeled in this study can result in decreased sodium to a level consistent with the short-term intake goal targeted by the FDA of 3000 mg/d, with the mean potassium intake remaining in the range recommended for the apparently healthy population.


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This work was supported by the IAFNS Sodium in Foods and Health Implications Committee.