Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hold the salt please!

According to recent studies, the production of salt within the United States has gone up 50% since the mid-80s.


That means more people are using salt to flavor their food, when most meals already have salt added to them or don't need salt at all. The average person only needs a half of gram of salt to function, while the average person eats up to 9 grams a day.

According to a recent article in Science Daily:

In a decade from 1976-1980 to 1988-1994 the prevalence of obesity increased 61 % among men and 52 % among women. During 1999 to 2002, the prevalence of obesity was 120 % higher among men and 99 % higher among women as compared with the 1976 to 1980 figures. The increased intake of salt, through induction of thirst with increased intake of high-energy beverages has obviously remarkably contributed to the increase of obesity in the United States.

It is noteworthy that, until 1983 the use of salt did not change or even showed a continuous decreasing trend in the United States. The prevalence of obesity was relatively low and remained essentially unchanged from early 1960s to early 1980s. The study suggests that a comprehensive reduction in salt intake, which would reduce the intake of high-energy beverages, would be a potentially powerful means in the so far failed attempts to combat obesity in industrialized societies.

So why are people adding salt and what does it mean to our bodies?

Mainly because their taste buds are dead to normal, natural tastes. Excessive salt intake can deadened the taste buds, requiring people to put more and more salt on their food to have some sense of taste.

But the increase in salt intake has more of a strong impact on the body, other than just deadening the taste buds. As stated in the Science Daily article, salt increases thrist, which is often quenched by sweetened beverages, like sodas. This one-two punch can overload the body, and keep the digestive system overwhelmed so it doesn't perform efficiently.

When the body is overwhelmed, the digestive system cannot properly metabolize food, so important vitamins are not absorbed. It also stresses out the immune system. When there are excessive fats and toxins in the body, the immune system focuses on the toxins and cannot properly fight germs and allergens, which means you are more susceptible to infection and disease.

Studies have shown that if people dropped their salt intake by 3 grams, from 9 grams to just 6, they reduce their chance of heart disease significantly, by up to 25%.

Dropping the salt intake can mean one other thing: you can actually taste your food again. Reducing the amount of salt you take in will lower your chances of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, but it will also increase the taste of your food. As your taste buds reawaken, you will begin to taste your food, taste the natural flavor.

This is of course if you are eating natural, non-processed foods. If you eat processed foods, your taste buds will remain dormant and dead. But processed foods aren't tasty anyway, wouldn't you agree?

Decreasing your salt intake, along with a balanced diet and exercise regiment, can increase the strength and the health of your system.

So next time, hold the salt....for your health!!!

University of Helsinki (2006, November 13). Salt Intake Is Strongly Associated With Obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com? /releases/2006/11/061101151027.htm

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! I don't even add salt to my water for pasta. Please pass the pepper!!!!!