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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hidden Salt Is Just As Bad As Hidden Sugars


Be careful about consuming salt as much as you are with sugar

This BBC News story about health leaders in the UK moving to regulate the amount of salt put in foods provides me with the perfect opportunity to discuss this important health topic that is just as important as watching your sugar intake when you are livin' la vida low-carb.

I'm pretty lucky. My vice has always been my sweet tooth. If something had sugar in it, then you can bet I had it in my mouth. I was literally addicted to sugar and ate it like it was going out of style. All of that changed when I began my low-carb lifestyle. Now just the mention of the word sugar causes me to cringe!

But some people have a strong craving to eat foods that are salty. My wife Christine is that way. She could eat a big bag of pretzels with thousands of milligrams of salt and it wouldn't faze her! Whereas, I'd have to opt for the salt-free version if I was eating pretzels.

I do eat lots of nuts and invariably I will get the unsalted version because I can't handle too much salt. Additionally, before I lost weight, I had trouble with my blood pressure and my doctor had me on a lower-salt routine that was the start of something wonderful for me. Although I once had to take blood pressure medicine, praise God today I am completely prescription medication FREE! Yippeeeeeee!

Nevertheless, salt can be bad news for your health in other ways besides increasing your blood pressure which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. The story notes that salt can cause the body to retain fluid (which hinders weight loss, by the way!) which leads to various health complications, be dangerous for infants whose kidneys have not yet fully developed, and much more.

Food manufacturers, especially in low-fat foods, load up their products with tons and tons of salt in an attempt to make them taste better. But the trade off for that "improved" taste is the overconsumption of something your body does not need an abundance of to function.

Don't get me wrong. We still NEED some salt in our body to regulate body fluids, send electrical impulses through the body and to help your cells absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat.

However, it is recommended that people only eat 6g of salt per day. Unfortunately, the average person eats nearly 40 percent MORE salt than that at 10g a day. I know my wife eats AT LEAST that much daily.

Interestingly, it is estimated that 70,000 heart attacks and strokes could be prevented if the average amount of salt consumed in a day dropped to 6g.

We can blame processed foods for about three-fourths of the salt we consume followed by packaged meats and even bread. What makes it frustrating is that most people can't even seem to tell the difference between foods that are loaded with salt and those that have reduced salt content.

The Food Standards Agency in the UK has sent an ultimatum to the manufacturers of 85 products requesting that they drop the salt content in their foods. They believe if the companies comply with their request that the salt intake will dip to the 6g/day level they desire.

At this time, the recommendations are not mandatory, but highly suggested for these companies to follow.

But what about personal responsibility? People need to make the choice to limit their salt intake for their own health's sake. Why should the government even stick its nose in this issue. If you care enough about preventing the negative consequences of eating too much salt, then you'll take the necessary measures to make it happen for yourself.

Even if you think you can't live without salt, make yourself cut back significantly. There are better ways to "salt" your foods without salt just as there are alternative ways to sweeten your foods without sugar.

You will recall the outstanding salt substitute I recently told you about called AlsoSalt which tastes fantastic and is 100% sodium-free. It is made from potassium and you'll NEVER know you're not eating salt. You can still get a FREE SAMPLE by clicking here.

I did not know this, but the food labels that show you the sodium content in foods is NOT the same as the salt content in that food product. Actually, you need to multiply the sodium number you 2.5 to get the salt contained in the food. READ YOUR LABELS and pay very close attention to how much salt you are actually putting into your mouth.

Eating healthy on your low-carb lifestyle is extremely important. While sugar gets most of the attention when you are low-carbing, don't neglect the benefits of lowering your salt consumption as much as possible, too! It could make a big difference in your weight loss efforts as well. Salt could be a reason why your weight suddenly stalls out of nowhere!

One final thought: If you think you are eating too much salt already and want to flush some of the excess out of your system, try drinking MORE WATER. Nothing dilutes extra salt in your body better than good old plain water. Of course, this is a good idea anyway, but it is that much more important to rid your body of unnecessary salt and cure your thirst all at the same time. Here's to your health!

7 Comments:

Blogger sly_foxx68 said...

Hey Jimmy Brian Here!

You know the same people that say you should only eat 6g of salt per day are the same people saying that we should eat 300-400 g of carbs a day and reduce the amount of fat and protein we consume. Personally I do not think that salt is that much of an issue to be watching how many grams we consume. I think if we just do not over do it then we will all be fine, I just have a hard time listening to people that tell us low carb is bad and believing what they say.

Thanks for all the articles and I will be back posting as soon as my living room is done being remodeled...by me :-)

3/24/2006 7:40 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I can appreciate your cynicism about this considering the source, Brian. But I know from personal experience that my BP goes up when I eat more salt than I need to (i.e. Chinese food!).

It makes sense for a variety of reasons that I have described that when you eat too much salt it can cause harm to your low-carb diet.

THANKS as always for your comments!

3/24/2006 8:13 AM  
Blogger sly_foxx68 said...

Jimmy,

I am curious, have you tested this since you have lost your weight. Does your BP still go up now that you have lost your weight or is this experience only from the pre low carb days? I would be interested in hearing more, currently I am not convinced that salt has any effect on BP or poses any other health risks but I could be wrong you know, I used to follow low fat :-)

Thanks again Jimmy
Brian

3/24/2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

My BP can STILL go up today even after my weight loss when I have eaten too much salt, Brian. Maybe it's just my body chemistry, but I'm better off avoiding it whenever possible. THANKS again!

3/24/2006 10:09 AM  
Blogger Regina Wilshire said...

>>>I can appreciate your cynicism about this considering the source, Brian. But I know from personal experience that my BP goes up when I eat more salt than I need to (i.e. Chinese food!). <<<

You're salt sensitive - basically in the minority of the population that sees an increase in BP when you consume more salt and a decrease when you reduce intake. The vast majority of the population however is not "salt sensitive"

To put this in perspective, the founder of the American Society of Hypertension, Dr. John Laragh, in April 2001, summarized the situation as follows:

“Is there any proven reason for us to grossly modify our salt intake or systematically avoid table salt? Is this a proven healthy thing to do, that is, will it save us from the major goals of antihypertensive therapy, such as a later heart attack or stroke or kidney failure? Generally speaking the answer is either a resounding no, or that, at best, there is not any positive direct evidence to support such recommendations. And equally relevant, what are the new risks you might be taking on by avoiding salt?” (American Journal of Hypertension, (14)4:307-310.

3/24/2006 3:15 PM  
Blogger sly_foxx68 said...

WOW,

I get a response from my 2 favorite low carb bloggers in the same day. I read both of your blogs daily and look forward to new postings everyday.

Thanks for the feedback Regina!

Thanks for the Blogs BOTH of you!

Brian

3/24/2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

Thanks for the comment, Regina. I didn't know that. I do know that I consistently go above the recommend RDA for sodium and it doesn't hurt me at all. My blood pressure is fine every time I go to the doctor.

I tried no-salt-added cottage cheese one time - tasted like cardboard. I just ran today's numbers out of curiosity and it looks like about 6500mg. But I have gone as high as 8800mg since I began tracking, and with no ill effects.

It's just not something I pay attention to, even though FitDay makes it easy to track.

I think most people don't need to worry about it.

3/26/2006 11:36 PM  

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