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Should I be Worried About Sodium?

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Should I be Worried About Sodium?

Old 01-22-11, 07:37 PM
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zachsilvey
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Should I be Worried About Sodium?

I have been tracking nutrition and exercise with livestrong.com and have discovered I eat way too much sodium on a daily basis. It recommends ~1900 mg per day, I eat sometimes 2-3x that.

Is this something that I should be worried about? How can I reduce my sodium intake?
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Old 01-22-11, 07:54 PM
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Easy. Stop drinking colas and energy drinks. Avoid processed foods and restaurants.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:27 PM
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A easy way to improve your diet is to avoid foods with more mg. of sodium than calories...call it the "one to one rule". So if you eat 2400 Cal a day, then your Sodium will be close to 2400 mg. A high salt diet is hard on your heart (high blood pressure) and your waistline.

Virtually all junk food is pumped full of salt, sugar, and fat because it encourages people to eat way more food than they should. People become addicted to the sugar, salt, and fat in these "crack foods". So 50 years after the creation of fast food more than 60% of the USA are overweight, and 30% are obese. Lack of excercise is part of the problem, but the primary problem is eating too much food.

Sorry, for the soap box speech..but I am seriously concerned about the future health care costs for our country...related to these problems
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Old 01-22-11, 08:38 PM
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merlin55+1 good advice
also just learn how to eat in instead of going out to eat.
(im not trying to imply anything but this helped me out when i found out my sodium intake was high)

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Old 01-25-11, 12:13 AM
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Sodium reduction

Good comments from everyone...to reduce it further, assuming you cook food yourself, is to utilize sea salts and kosher salt. They have less sodium than iodized salt and will still bring out the flavors in your food. Also, utilize spices and herbs...fresh if possible. As a chef, I'm constantly utilizing many different spices, chiles, herbs, and vegetables to create a variety of flavors.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by C 2 View Post
Good comments from everyone...to reduce it further, assuming you cook food yourself, is to utilize sea salts and kosher salt.
Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt are all primarily NaCl. The latter two do have marginally lower sodium content due to small amounts of other elements, but the difference is pretty small:
https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-salt/AN01142
If you really want to significantly reduce sodium then there are salt substitutes that replace much of the NaCl with KCl (i.e. potassium instead of sodium) and also some totally sodium-free substitutes.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:27 AM
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I had hypertension about 3 months ago. Started watching my sodium and I'm back in healthy ranges today. I would definitely be concerned about sodium. I like the 1-to-1 rule. I'll have to pay attention to that.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:58 AM
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Cut down on the Margaritas and Tequila shots. Sodium dose not worry about you so don't worry about it. You need salt to live so don't cut to much out. If you ride a lot guess where the salt goes, out your pores. Change your crunchy snacks to something with little salt. Happy riding.
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Old 01-25-11, 04:28 AM
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What about the replacement factor in gatorade et. al.? After a good stiff workout, my forehead could be a salt lick and my helmet's straps have salt crystals on them. Some extra salt seems to be needed to replace that and to maintain healthy body functions. Not saying to lay on the salt, but the USDA guidelines don't take into account a 60mile+ ride...
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Old 01-25-11, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by zachsilvey View Post
I have been tracking nutrition and exercise with livestrong.com and have discovered I eat way too much sodium on a daily basis. It recommends ~1900 mg per day, I eat sometimes 2-3x that.

Is this something that I should be worried about? How can I reduce my sodium intake?
If you have problems from the consumption of salt such as high blood pressure, then worry about your salt consumption. But if you exercise and sweat heavily, you may want to maintain your sodium intake at a higher level than recommended. Sodium is necessary to your body's function and if you drop too low, you can have severe health effects that are more immediate than chronic.

Talk to a doctor and make sure you explain your exercise routine and exercise level.
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Old 01-25-11, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by LAriverRat View Post
Cut down on the Margaritas and Tequila shots................. If you ride a lot guess where the salt goes, out your pores.


I once drank a margarita the night before a ride, the salt on my helmet straps the next day had a lemon taste to it.
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Old 01-25-11, 12:03 PM
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There is so much sodium naturally in unprocessed food (and lord too much in processed) there is no need to ever add salt to anything. Now I only use salt (always Kosher) while baking or when there is a reactive need in cooking. Extra salt leads to all sorts of problems least of which is high blood pressure/hypertension etc.

If you are young and don't yet have hypertension problems, I would just make sure you are not adding salt to anything you eat especially if the food is salty already.
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Old 01-25-11, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
If you really want to significantly reduce sodium then there are salt substitutes that replace much of the NaCl with KCl (i.e. potassium instead of sodium) and also some totally sodium-free substitutes.
Do you know if these substitutes work in baking?
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Old 01-25-11, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Do you know if these substitutes work in baking?
The ones that are a mixture of NaCl and KCl (Morton's LiteSalt is one example) should be fine for baking and used in the same quatities as regular salt. There are a variety of totally sodium-free substitutes, some consisting mainly of KCl but also some with other compounds. You'd have to check the specific substitute to see if they have any limitations. Note that excessive potassium can also have health risks, particularly for people with impaired kidney function.
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Old 01-25-11, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
There is so much sodium naturally in unprocessed food (and lord too much in processed) there is no need to ever add salt to anything. Now I only use salt (always Kosher) while baking or when there is a reactive need in cooking. Extra salt leads to all sorts of problems least of which is high blood pressure/hypertension etc.

If you are young and don't yet have hypertension problems, I would just make sure you are not adding salt to anything you eat especially if the food is salty already.
+ 1

If you don't already, learn how to properly interpret the labels on the food you buy. There will be choices you can make with respect to lower sodium content, even with such basics as a loaf of bread.
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Old 01-25-11, 02:00 PM
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According to my son's cardiologist, "Sodium induce hypertension is only prevalent in the African-American population."

That being said, when I eat too much salt, I get edema in my ankles, and I see it on the scale in water weight. My BP is excellent though, even on the low side.

The only way I know to reduce the salt contect of my food is to make it myself, there is so much salt added to pre-made foods.

I also know that when I start piling on the miles, I start craving chips and salsa..

What does it all mean, I have no clue.
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Old 01-25-11, 02:38 PM
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Funny I used to live on things like "Lean Cuisine" meals etc but the salt content now makes me sick (somewhere along the line I developed an "allergy" or adversion to salt). The plus is now I cook just about everything I eat which means more fresh vegetables and fruit. I even bake my own bread. Unfortunately I sometimes find myself low on sodium (and I get leg cramps etc). In that case I generally have celery sticks or sometimes salted nuts such as pitaschios (sp?). When we exercise and sweat - we sweat out salt and potassium - our bodies let us know we need more by sending out signals to crave salty foods.

And I disagree that sodium induced hytension is prevalent only in certain populations. I reduced my salt intake and also eliminated my need for BP medication.
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Old 01-25-11, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
Easy. Stop drinking colas and energy drinks. Avoid processed foods and restaurants.
Energy drinks, yes. Soft drinks like cola, not so much. Soft drinks have from 15 to 50 mg/16 oz. Energy drinks have 95 mg/16oz. Tomato juice...ick!...has 650mg.

There are other reasons not to drink sugared soft drinks but sodium isn't one of them.
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Old 01-25-11, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Funny I used to live on things like "Lean Cuisine" meals etc but the salt content now makes me sick (somewhere along the line I developed an "allergy" or adversion to salt). The plus is now I cook just about everything I eat which means more fresh vegetables and fruit. I even bake my own bread. Unfortunately I sometimes find myself low on sodium (and I get leg cramps etc). In that case I generally have celery sticks or sometimes salted nuts such as pitaschios (sp?). When we exercise and sweat - we sweat out salt and potassium - our bodies let us know we need more by sending out signals to crave salty foods.

And I disagree that sodium induced hytension is prevalent only in certain populations. I reduced my salt intake and also eliminated my need for BP medication.
Sorry but prevalent doesn't mean only. If you are taking blood pressure medication, you have a problem with blood pressure and reducing your sodium intake is warranted. We don't know if zacksilvey has issues with blood pressure or not. Sodium doesn't seem to cause high blood pressure but only exacerbates it in people who have the problem.

Not all people are the same. I, for example, lose vast quantities of salt during exercise. Without replacement, I'm prone to very low blood pressures, dizziness and fainting. If I reduced my sodium to the extreme levels you need, I'd spend most of my time face down.
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Old 01-25-11, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by zachsilvey View Post
I have been tracking nutrition and exercise with livestrong.com and have discovered I eat way too much sodium on a daily basis. It recommends ~1900 mg per day, I eat sometimes 2-3x that.

Is this something that I should be worried about? How can I reduce my sodium intake?
It really depends, I am not a doctor, if you are really worried about your sodium intake, you should discuss this with your family doctor, they will run some tests and tell you whether it's an issue, for you or not. One way to reduce sodium, if your worried about it, don't keep the salt shaker on the table, leave it on the shelf, it doesn't take long before you realise that most foods you eat, have enough already. Some prepared foods contain a lot of salt, but they usually are not good for you anyway. If your really concerned, the ideal is to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, realizing you will still get more sodium then you need.
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Old 01-25-11, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Not all people are the same. I, for example, lose vast quantities of salt during exercise. Without replacement, I'm prone to very low blood pressures, dizziness and fainting. If I reduced my sodium to the extreme levels you need, I'd spend most of my time face down.
Actually I have the same problem and with not adding salt to my food and limiting salty foods, it's become a real issue. It's a balance - but just recently I let myself get depleted and I paid the price (major leg cramps!). I now do force myself to eat certain salty itms especially if working out (mostly nuts or pretzels).
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Old 01-25-11, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
Easy. Stop drinking colas and energy drinks. Avoid processed foods and restaurants.
Sound advice. Apart from the bit about restaurants. I'm just not that strong ...

Seriously though, speaking as someone who is fairly obsessed by cooking and food in general, if you steer clear of the energy drinks and ESPECIALLY the processed foods it's amazing how much salt you can put on stuff. Way more than I'd use. Take the RDA description of something you eat a lot, and then imagine making it yourself. Some ready meals have twice your RDA in them, and I don't just mean the "cheap" ones. In Ireland and the UK, Marks & Spensers, an upmarket chain, are among the worst offenders. The basic reason, which I'm sure you'll know but I'm gonna point out anyway for the sake of the post, is that salt preserves and enhances the flavour of the usually crappy quality ingredients. So why don't those meals taste really salty (some of 'em actually taste pretty nice)? SIMPLE! The just add a bag of sugar to balance it out.

Think the livestrong guideline is on the low side (not a bad thing, but some sources say as much as 3000 is OK), but the one-to-one ratio mentioned above seems sound. That'd be about 1.5 or 2 spoons of normal salt ingested; which is a sh*tload.

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Old 01-25-11, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
And I disagree that sodium induced hytension is prevalent only in certain populations. I reduced my salt intake and also eliminated my need for BP medication.
I just quoted a pediatric cardiologist whom I've known for the last 12 years, as my son's cardiologist.. Feel free to disagree, it does not bother me. I was suprised to hear it myself.

He actually told me this about 2 weeks after my heart attack, when I was 35, while talking about some of the lifestyle changes I was making.

In no way, shape, or form, am I advocating that you ramp up your sodium intake. I still watch mine, but I watch it less than saturated fat intake, transfat intake, or calorie intake. I also don't have high blood pressure, no have I ever, even prior to the heart attack and 50 pounds heavier than I am now.
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