How Much Sodium a Day Is Too Much? Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Salt
On salt consumption, the scientists from Deakin University of Australia reached this conclusion after they kept under observation a group of 48 healthy people. Every day, they received a different lunch, based on one of the following nutritional combinations:
- fewer fats / fewer salt
- more fats / much salt
- fewer fats / much salt
- more fats / fewer salt
The scientists evaluated the appetite, the quantity of food eaten and the installation time of satiety. This way, they revealed that when the subjects received much salt, they ate more, even if the food contained fewer or more fats. The most important thing is that the excess of salt inhibited their capacity to identify fats. You can see that it is so easy to get extra kilos if you aren’t moderate with the salt consumption.
How Salt Affects Dieting?
In normal amounts, salt is not a fattening factor, but it also will not help you lose those extra pounds, in fact, it doesn’t contains calories. However, excess consumption of salt can lead to a temporary increase in weight because it causes water retention. Conversely, low salt intake can result in a weight loss also temporary because the water is not retained in the body. It is therefore curious that most of miracle weight loss diets focus on eliminate salt from your food. Giving up salt, you lose weight by reducing the water in your body, and once you eat foods that contain salt, you’ll immediately put back the lost weight.
So, it seems that salt itself is not as dangerous as we may think, it’s the excessive consumption that can be a real nutritional disaster.
A highly-salted diet will not only affect your weight, by getting some guaranteed unwanted kilos, but it has also hazardous effects on blood flow. The reason that we eat too much salt is not eating the right foods, but preferring eating fast food or ready meals. A diet based on low salt consumption contains healthy foods as little processed as we can, such as fruits and vegetables in their natural state.
So, we end up wondering:
How Much Salt Is Good for the Average Body and What Is the Optimal Salt Consumption Per Day?
Remember, is not a good choice to eliminate the salt altogether from our daily diet because we all need a little bit of sodium.
The sodium helps us keep the body fluids at the right concentration of minerals and is needed for muscle and nerve activity. Salt (sodium chloride) is the main source of sodium in the diet, but the majority of us eat much more salt than we need. Eating too much sodium over time is linked with high blood pressure, which can lead to serious problems such as heart disease or stroke.
But What Are the Recommendations for Salt Consumption for Each Age?
On average, adults eat about 9g of salt (3.6g sodium) a day. This may not sound like much, but to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, it is recommended that adults should not be eating more than 5g of salt (2g sodium) a day. That’s about 1 tsp / day.
Sodium intakes should be much lower than this for babies and children. Babies under 12 months old shouldn’t have salt in their food at all! The daily recommended maximum amount children should eat depends on their age:
1 to 3 years – 1g of salt a day (0.4g sodium)
4 to 6 years – 2g of salt a day (0.8g sodium)
7 to 10 years – 3g of salt a day (1.2g sodium)
11 years and over – 5g of salt a day (2g sodium)
As salt is often a ‘hidden’ ingredient in many foods, it can sometimes be difficult to work out how much you are eating. Some foods, such as crisps, olives, cheese and bacon, taste obviously salty but other foods can contribute a lot of salt to our diet without us realising it. The salt we add during cooking and at the table makes up only a small amount of salt in our diets. Around 75% of the salt we eat comes from ready-made and processed foods, such as bread, breakfast cereals, soups and baked beans. Even sweet things, such as biscuits, can have salt added to them. To keep track of your sodium intake, get into the habit of reading the nutritional information on food labels, where you will find the content for a 100g serving. Try to eat those foods that are high in salt less often or in smaller amounts. As a rough guide you have to remind that a high amount of salt is more than 1.5g per 100g and a low amount of salt is 0.3g per 100g.
As a resume, I agree with the scientists from Deakin University of Australia and I also want to emphasize that the excessive consumption of sugar, fat and salt can cause nutritional imbalances that often can lead to nutritional disaster. So, moderate consumption of salt can help you to keep your weight under control and maintain your beautiful silhouette. Also if you want to reduce the salt consumption, and in the same time to eat tasty and healthy, you can start by giving up junk food, cooked and snacks, and eat home cooked food and more fruits and vegetables.
Eat healthy, live better!