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Shakin' It Up with the Skinny on Salt

The Danger is Not in the Shaker


2/28/2012 12:18:48 PM

I think everyone does need to afraid of the salt shaker AND processes foods when statistics show that 90% of normotensive people at age 55, will still end up with a hypertension diagnosis! The two culprits.....salt and sedentary lifestyles. On rare occasions, and the numbers are small...folks will run into a hyponatremia problem....generally that is due to other causes rather than a diet low in sodium. difference between sea salt and regular salt, except that sea salt is a little coarser...might be taking in less because of that. Salt is salt.
2/14/2012 2:42:01 PM

BLUE42DOWN's SparkPage
The one food that shocked me most recently in terms of ADDED sodium ... is cottage cheese. I happen to like it and was eating it for a nice boost of protein. Turns out the amount of salt added to it is absurd. For a 4 oz portion, it goes from 45mg to 440mg. Seriously ... almost half a gram of salt added to a mere 4 oz cup.

(Admittedly, no salt added cottage cheese is a bit bland until I add in fruit which I usually did anyway. So many better ways to add some zest than such a high amount of salt.)
12/26/2011 11:51:11 AM

Hello, those links in my comment got mangled. The title of the article in Scientific American is "It's Time to End the War on Salt" and the JAMA article is titled "Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion and Risk of Cardiovascular Events". It might be easier to get to them (and to comments on them) by googling the titles than by trying to follow the mangled URLs.
12/26/2011 11:47:15 AM

Don't let your sodium intake get too low. Recommendations for sodium intake below 2000mg/day should be taken with a grain of salt. Those recommendations are based on extremely weak evidence--see this article on the Scientific American website:
cfm?id=its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt. In a study published recently in JAMA,
29.abstract, people with sodium intake below 3000mg/day had a higher death rate than people who consumed between 4000mg/day and 6000mg/day. Over 7000mg/day is certainly too much, but you if you succeed in attaining an unrealistically low sodium intake you might not be getting enough.
12/26/2011 8:33:36 AM

Human beings have 4 kinds of taste is salt. We are born to like the taste. As with every other article on nutrition, we are wise to take it with a grain of salt (forgive the pun). We need a certain amount of sodium to survive and not everyone needs to be afraid of the salt shaker.
11/18/2011 10:32:27 AM

I've been following a low-salt diet for close to six months now due to health issues. I was told I could consume 2,000-2,500 mg of sodium a day and the ENT explained to me the danger of going too low on sodium. Some people need to consume 1,000 mg of sodium or less, but not everyone does.

An easy way to calculate is to aim for 500 mg sodium at breakfast, 600 mg at lunch and dinner and 100 mg at two snacks during the day.

I don't shun all prepackaged food. I don't have the time or energy to cook everything from scratch. If you keep your servings accurate, you can use some convenience foods as a complement to low sodium options to create meals. Cheese is a great example. If you don't drown your food in it, it can add flavor and saltiness to meals. By the way, Swiss is a wonderful low sodium alternative.

When looking at sodium content in foods, what surprised me the most was the amount of sodium in sweet products. Several examples are pancake mix, instant pudding mix and cake mixes all have well over 400 mg of sodium per serving.

Hope this helps.
11/17/2011 10:02:11 AM

While going crazy with the salt shaker if you are already eating a fast-food diet is a bad idea, I am in agreement with Dr William Davis that eliminating all wheat products and reducing carbs from grains and sugar are going to have a greater positive impact on your health than sodium restriction.
9/20/2011 8:11:26 AM

M77355's SparkPage

Refined Salt: White Poison - The problem with salt is not the salt itself but the condition of the salt we eat! Our regular table salt no longer has anything in common with the original crystal salt. Salt now a day is mainly sodium chloride and not salt. With the advent of industrial development, our natural salt was "chemically cleaned" and reduced only to sodium and chloride. Major producing companies dry their salt in huge kilns with temperatures reaching 1200 degrees F, changing he salt's chemical structure, which in turn adversely affects the human body. The common table salt we use for cooking has only 2 or 3 chemical elements. The seawater has 84 chemical elements. For our body to be healthy we need all those elements. When we use the common salt, we are in deficit of 81 elements which means we are somehow contributing to becoming weaker, imbalanced and more susceptible to diseases. Use the seawater salt.
9/18/2011 1:27:04 PM

As usual, moderation is key! As I recall, No Salt contains an aluminum derivative. A low salt diet can cause hyponatraemia (low blood levels of sodium) which increases mortality for patients with congestive heart failure. One example of the importance of salt is the common practice of starting an intravenous solution of salt and water as the first line treatment for a trauma patient upon arrival to the hospital Emergency Room.
There is good information with citations here:

9/18/2011 11:10:41 AM

Smaller holes on the salt shaker? My "salt shaker" has only one hole, and it's about the diameter of a 50-cent piece, LOL! I have reduced my salt intake quite a bit, but since I almost never eat factory-processed foods, sodium is not something I worry about. The problem is that people unwitting pay a high price for "convenience," and it's not always at the cash register.
6/30/2011 1:51:32 PM

FRANKKI1's SparkPage
Sea salt has up to 30% less sodium than table salt.
4/21/2011 12:13:04 PM

BTW: salt substitutes still contain chloride even if it's potassium chloride. still causes retention.

And by weight, sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium chloride. The only difference is the taste - table salt has been highly processed to get rid of the mineral taste while sea salt has a lot more minerals.
4/21/2011 11:55:20 AM

Leverb66: water consumption will not cause your body to release the water any faster. The chloride in your cells gradually dissipates and releases the water - usually 2-4 days. Drinking more water (up to 100oz or more if you choose) will certainly help regardless of your salt intake, because your body holds on to water anyways if you aren't getting enough. If you daily eat foods with only naturally occurring sodium, plus drink 100oz of water or more (of course not over doing it either) your body will release the extra water.
4/21/2011 11:49:28 AM

it's not the sodium, it's the sodium CHLORIDE. its the sodium NOT NATURALLY FOUND IN YOUR FRESH FOODS. It's the sodium contributed by the little word SALT listed in the ingredients list.

I eat less then 1,000mg of sodium but I can still get practically 1,500 just through what I eat. For instance, Celery, Egg whites, Spinach, Chard to name a few - are very high in naturally occurring sodium.

While this sodium can still raise your blood pressure and therefore you should moderate how much you eat and how it affects you - this sodium is also very accessible for your muscles, brain, etc to use and it's just as easy for your body to excrete and get rid of.

It's the CHLORIDE in the sodium chloride in your salt shaker that sneaks into the walls of your cells and forces the cell to inflate with water - causing an imbalance in your body (when you start to feel super thirsty after consuming salt) and therefore the water you drink needs to help put your body into a balance. Thus you get water retention.

You don't get the same water retention if any at all when you get your sodium from your meats, grains, fruits & vegetables.
3/26/2011 5:21:06 AM

7WORSHIPS's SparkPage
It took a few months, but I was able to lower my bp to a normal range by watching the amount of sodium (decreased the amount) and potassium (increased the amount) in my diet. I agree that it usually means eating out infrequently and cooking most foods from scratch. But after reducing the sodium, I was able to taste the true flavor in whole foods. I get much more enjoyment out of eating now that I stay away from so much sodium. The sparkpeople food tracker really helps me keep an eye on the amount of sodium and potassium I consume on a daily basis.

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