Sodium

Sodium

Deborah KayBy Deborah KayJanuary 7, 20204 Minutes

TL:DR: Too much salt is bad when combined with fructose, especially in processed foods. Drink water before a salty meal to reduce the impact on blood pressure and don’t worry about salt.

 

Salt itself is not bad for you.

In fact, it is necessary to have some sodium in your diet.

Moreover, salt makes food taste better, and I encourage everyone to sprinkle some on their vegetables if it helps them eat more of them.

There are three reasons salt is a problem for most Western societies. The first is that we eat way too much of it, which can lead to hypertension.

1. We eat way too much of it, which can lead to hypertension.

However, it’s NOT just about the total amount of salt, it’s the concentration of salt in your blood. If you drink water BEFORE eating a salty meal, you can reduce the concentration of sodium (if you eat something salty and then you get really thirsty, that’s a sign that you’ve already raised your serum sodium)

Most (75%) of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods. Relatively speaking, the salt you add to home-cooked food is insignificant.

2. Sodium intake must be balanced by sufficient potassium intake

This comes mainly from vegetables. [Note from Tim: avocados, white beans, and spinach are great options.]

That is, the more vegetables you eat, the less dietary sodium matters.

Most people don’t eat enough vegetables, so eating a lot of sodium poses a bigger risk for developing high blood pressure than it would in the context of a healthier diet.

3. High intake of fructose exacerbates effects of sodium in diet.

A high intake of fructose, a common ingredient in processed foods, exacerbates the effects of sodium in the diet. This means that the same amount of salt in your food is more dangerous if there is a lot of fructose around as well.

Also, when you eat salt, you’re making fructose in your body, and fructose is then driving a lot of effects

 

Conclusion

  • Too many processed foods and too few vegetables are the real causes of hypertension
  • If you drink water BEFORE eating a salty meal, you can reduce the concentration of sodium

 

Sources

Jedi Mind Tricks: How to Get Loved Ones to Lose Weight
Peter Attia’s Podcast Interview with Rick Johnson
It’s Time to End the War on Salt – Scientific American
The Salt Scam – Dr Jason Fung