Most ingested sodium is contained in food. The aim was to investigate whether sodium depletion, dehydration, or DOCA alters intakes of salted and unsalted foods by rats given choices of two foods: salted (0.2-0.5% Na) and unsalted food containing either similar or different other dietary components. Diuretic-induced (furosemide or acetazolamide, two treatments on successive days) sodium depletion always caused pronounced falls in intake of unsalted food within 24 h, continuing at least another 2 days (e.g., 20.9 ± 1.6 pretreatment to 14.8 ± 1.2, 10.6 ± 1.5, and 14.3 ± 1.3 g/day for 3 days of depletion). Intake and preference for salted food increased after 24-72 h (e.g., 6.5 ± 1.2 pretreatment to 7.1 ± 1.1, 16.4 ± 2.3, and 17.0 ± 1.5 g/day at 1, 2, and 3 days of depletion). Valsartan (10 mg/day) blocked the increased intake of salted food but not the reduced intake of unsalted food. DOCA (2 mg/day) caused equivalent increase and decrease in intakes of salted and unsalted food, respectively. Water-deprived rats reduced intake (e.g., 14.2 ± 3.1 to 3.2 ± 2.0 g/day) of and preference for salted food (e.g., 56 ± 13% to 21 ± 11%) after 2 days of dehydration but did not consistently reduce intake of unsalted food. Total food ingested/day fell in both sodium-depleted and dehydrated rats. Rats regulate intakes of different foods to balance sodium needs, osmoregulatory homeostasis, and energy requirements. Reduced appetite for unsalted food may be a homeostatic response to sodium depletion, which together with subsequent generation of appetite for salted food, drives animals to ingest sodium-containing food, thereby restoring sodium balance.