Tuesday, January 4, 2011

                                                       IS SALT BAD ??????                     salt shaker

Everybody loves to sprinkle a dash of salt on their meals. But, at the end of the day, when you're feeling a little bloated, you can blame salt as the culprit.

According to a recent report, experts found that Americans have too much salt in their diet, exceeding the daily recommended amount. And you may be surprised to find that what you think are healthy food products may be high in sodium. Did you know that a bowl of Cheerios has more sodium than a serving of Ruffles potato chips?

Also, reducing salt intake doesn't necessarily reduce the risk of high blood pressure or a family history or hypertension.

To lessen the grief of salt lovers, we've asked an expert to break down the basics about salt -- what to look for and what we should know.

Nutritionist David Grotto, RD, LDN, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, offered his expertise on how a little salt goes a long way.

Is salt bad for you?
Grotto: No. If used appropriately, salt is not bad for you. We're not required to eat [table] salt because we can find salt naturally occurring in a variety of different foods that we eat. But most cultures around the world use salt and not all of them have a hypertension epidemic.

What is salt?
Salt is basically sodium chloride -- two essential minerals required by the body that helps communication between cells and many of the required processes. It is very much responsible for fluid balance in our bodies. Salt is naturally occurring -- kosher or Epsom, it can come from the sea and from minerals.

How much salt is too much?
The dietary guidelines for Americans clearly show lower amounts of sodium in the diet. Currently, 2400 milligrams is the recommended amount. However, a typical American diet ranges from 3000 to 5000 milligrams of sodium. For our bodies to survive, we need about 500 milligrams. A teaspoon of salt is close to the 2400 milligrams.

The salt shaker at the dinner table is NOT the smoking gun. The stealth danger is under the radar in convenience and frozen packages and fast foods. Those prepackaged foods and meals have the highest sodium intake.
 Does salt make you fat?
David Grotto, RD, LDN:
It doesn't. I have not seen any research that suggests sodium affects fat deposition in the body. People are complaining about fat due to fluid retention and that's what they are seeing on the scale.

Why does salt make you bloated?
Some people can be more sodium sensitive than others. Too much sodium can cause fluid retention –- that is, fluid being caught in between the cells. You would notice your ankles swollen or find your ring a bit snug. In the short term, it may be a discomfort but in the long term, too much sodium quite often leads to high blood pressure, which is not a good thing. Quite often blood pressure medicines are diuretics.

Who should be concerned?
I think everybody should be concerned, not just those with a family history of hypertension. Before, blood pressure of 120/80 was thought to be normal but now might be at a pre-hypertensive range. More Americans are suffering from hypertension.

Beyond high blood pressure and hypertension, recent research suggests that too much sodium can be attributed to bone loss. And bone loss is escalating among men, not just in women.

I think it's a really good idea to monitor what you are eating and look for physical clues. Again, if you're having swelling of the lower extremities or hands, that's a good indication to see the doctor. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Which foods have high amounts of sodium?
Generally, there is no high sodium in fruit, vegetable or grains. And there's a safe bet that meat isn't high in sodium unless it is smoked or preserved.

Surprisingly, beans can be high in sodium depending on how it is processed. Beans are a good nutritional source except that dry beans and canned beans contain various levels of sodium.

And convenience packaging and mixed meals contain high amounts. It would be hard to tell what the sodium content would be in a prepackaged meal.
TO BE CONTINUED ....................

1 comment:

  1. cool article kali! - keep up the gr8 work kezo -