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Shakin' It Up with the Skinny on Salt

The Danger is Not in the Shaker


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.
3/12/2011 7:28:30 PM

BOOPSTER47's SparkPage
Great article. I have to keep my sodium done because of heart problems. When I first started watching my sodium count I was shocked how much sodium was in some foods. Now anything high in sodium taste bad.
12/23/2010 10:07:02 PM

I was really interested in this article. Unfortunately, I couldn't read it because of an ad that kept cutting off most of the article.
12/10/2010 12:39:37 PM

HALEBENT's SparkPage
I'm off my BP meds now because I have been vigilant about my salt intake. Mrs. Dash is a great substitute. Plus, I'm trying to eat more home cooked meals and not depending on prepackaged convenience foods.
12/10/2010 9:52:01 AM

Great topic! Tracking your sodium is a great way to prevent heart problems later on. There are some good low sodium cooking books, websites, etc too.,, are just a few that have saved me from a heart transplant.

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