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Lower Salt Intake

Posted by terrepruitt on September 2, 2010

The recommended daily maximum sodium intake for Americans is 2300 to 2400 milligrams for healthy people, for people with high blood pressure and elderly people it is even less at 1500 milligrams.  Do you know how much the average American consumes per day?   A lot, more than twice the amount for a healthy person, at 5000 milligrams.  The body  needs 500 milligrams a day and we are getting about 10 times as much.

One teaspoon of salt contains 2325 milligrams of sodium.  So one teaspoon is about all we should be having per day.  It would be a lot easier if we were in complete control of the sodium we consumed and it was not added to our food.  A lot of food might not even taste salty to contain a high amount of sodium.  Most of the salt in the American diet comes from restaurant foods and processed, about 80 percent.  Foods high in sodium are the highly processed foods, canned foods, pickled foods, condiments, dressings, and sauces.

There is research predicting that more than 100,000 Ameican deaths a year could be prevented if Americans reduced their sodium intake.

It could be a matter of understanding the labeling terms, according to an article on the Mayo Clinic’s website, here is some help:

  • Sodium-free or salt-free. Each serving in this product contains less than 5 mg of sodium.
  • Very low sodium. Each serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less.
  • Low sodium. Each serving contains 140 mg of sodium or less.
  • Reduced or less sodium. The product contains at least 25 percent less sodium than the regular version.
  • Lite or light in sodium. The sodium content has been reduced by at least 50 percent from the regular version.
  • Unsalted or no salt added. No salt is added during processing of a food that normally contains salt. However, some foods with these labels may still be high in sodium.

I really love salt.  Even though I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, I do salt my food.  I am probably one of the “average Americans” that consumes sodium on the high end.  The information that I am seeing states that liking foods salty is an acquired taste so one can learn to like food less salty by just reducing the salt slowly.  I think I am going to do that.    What about you, do you eat the “average American” amount?  Is there a way you can reduce your sodium intake?


4 Responses to “Lower Salt Intake”

  1. suzicate said

    I use a lot of salt when I cook or actually even when making fresh salsa. I use sea salt a lot of the time, not sure if that’s a lot better or not. I am eating lots of fruit these days and fresh veggies. No sugar though, but haven’t given ;up my french press. I am really feeling a big difference in stamina. My energy level is way up…could be a combination of food and exercise, but feeling good!


  2. justmeint said

    The Government is pushing the ‘reduce your salt’ intake….. but wait!

    There is NO REAL EVIDENCE that an increase in salt will cause people to suffer an increased risk of heart attack….. The studies are there for all to see for themselves, so why is there a push to lower our sodium (salt) intake?



    • Well, ok, justmeint, thanks for that. Just as a note, my post does not state there is a risk for heart disease because of high sodium.

      Our bodies need salt, but when our bodies get too much our bodies cannot process it all out and it ends up in our blood attracting water and increasing the volume of our blood. Large blood volume increases blood pressure. With so much stress on our systems already high blood pressure can lead to other health issues.

      There are a lot of studies that say the more sodium in the body the higher the blood pressure. High blood pressure is not good.

      According to the Harvard School of Public Health website:

      Most research regarding salt in the diet has focused on high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart failure and that blood pressure rises with increasing amounts of sodium in the diet. It also states that a REDUCTION in sodium actually decreases cardiovascular disease. (So it doesn’t really say that high amounts increase the risk, but it does say that lower sodium in the diet DECREASES the risk.)

      Two Trials of Hypertension Prevention conducted decades ago showed that 10–15 years after the study was done, the participants in the sodium-reduction groups were 25 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke, to have needed a procedure to open or bypass a cholesterol-clogged coronary artery, or to have died of cardiovascular disease.

      Could just be that people actually interested in eating less salt do additional things that end up contributing to a healthier body. As your blog state you don’t eat much processed foods, to me that is a HUGE issue here in the United States. So many foods consumed are pre-packaged and OVER-processed. Pre-packaged, pre-made food is WAY high in sodium. It could be that sodium really isn’t that bad for you, heck we actually need it, but with all of the other chemicals that go into our food and therefore into our bodies and so many of the nutrients actually processed OUT, our bodies probably don’t need as much as we eat. I think that things have a group affect — for example if someone drinks water, exercises, eats fresh fruits and veggies, doesn’t eat a lot of processed foods, but goes way overboard on salt, he might not be affected. But someone who doesn’t exercise, eats primarily fast food and over-processed foods, drinks only soda and consumes a huge amount of salt, well, they might benefit from lowering their salt intake.

      EveryBODY is different, but the government makes decisions, laws, and regulations for the masses. The guidelines have to be simple because the masses don’t want to put forth the effort to figure things out —- they are too busy —- that is why they are eating convenience foods in the first place. Here in the United States the obesity rate is very high, and a since that alone is a health risk and Americans just keep getting heavier, maybe one way to help people to be healthy is for the government to say, “Hey eat less salt in your fast food.”

      Oh, I also found this article from Nov. 2009:

      The World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended 5g, or one teaspoon, daily salt intake can help save as many as four million lives round the globe every year. The findings of researchers from UK and Italy have revealed that excess salt intake is directly linked with the risk of stroke or heart disease.

      Thirteen studies were reviewed involving over 170,000 people between 1996 and 2008, found that for people regularly consuming 5g of salt a day too much, the risk of heart stroke was 23 percent higher; while their chances of developing heart disease were 17 percent more than the others.
      But I guess different people interpret the information differently.

      Maybe it could become standard to test the urine of every heart incident victim and we could just start adding it all up. Those with a high level of sodium and those without. Then we could see if people with high levels had more heart incidents than those without.

      I for one, don’t want to end up on High Blood Pressure medicine so I am working on eating less sodium. Check out my cans!


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