The Truth about Salt, Weight and Health

Truth about Salt, Blood Pressure and Weight

When it comes to weight and health, salt usually carries a bad reputation. Messages about low or reduced-sodium foods are plastered across package labels and resource articles while doctors continue to warn us about the side effects of excess sodium.

However, the real reason for these salt-focused messages often remains unclear. Many of us associate salt with weight gain and danger to our health and weight management goals. On the other hand, salt is critical to a functioning body and everybody needs it. Unfortunately, these mixed signals often give us a “gray area” in nutrition.

The Truth about Salt, Weight and Health

Simply put, too much salt leads to high blood pressure. When our blood pressure is high, our heart must increase the amount of work that it does. As a result, high blood pressure from excess salt can lead to heart disease and failure, stoke and kidney disease.

You should note that salt itself does not contribute to weight gain. Rather, a diet that is low in nutrients and higher in calories, fats and sugars will cause us to gain weight – especially when paired with little physical activity. Unfortunately, these types of foods usually contain high sodium content as they often come manufactured and pre-packaged.

It’s no wonder, then, that Americans on average tend to consume too much salt in their diets. USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend these sodium restrictions:

  • Standard Adults – 2,300 mg sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Adults with Hypertension, African Americans and Older Adults – 1,500 mg sodium per day (about 5/8 teaspoon)

It comes as no surprise that most of us are consuming a lot more sodium than this per day!

What Can YOU Do?

While you cannot control the amount of salt that goes into most dishes and packaged foods, you can take the following steps to ensure that you’re reducing and managing your sodium intake:

  • Research Your Food – Check out the sodium content on foods you buy at the grocery store, and try finding sodium content on online menus before going out to eat.
  • Stick to Fresh, Whole Foods – These include meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Make Gradual Improvements – Rather than struggling to reduce your sodium intake all at once, take baby steps.

To view the full article from Your Weight Matters Magazine, please CLICK HERE. 

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