Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Is there nothing to which we can't become addicted?  Probably not.

We covered food addiction in general in the April edition of Life-Style, but now we would like to cover salt addiction.

Eating too much salt changes how your body makes and metabolizes fat.  Studies have shown that a high salt diet can boost the production of insulin, the hormone that tells the body to store fat.

Even if you don't salt your food, be aware that 80% of the sodium in an average diet comes from processed food, i.e. cereals, baked goods, soups, frozen dinners, pasta sauces, etc.  And you don't want to know how much is in fast food and restaurant meals.
Note: Sea salt is still salt
The 'RDA' for sodium is 2630 mg, per day, but this is based on a 2000 calorie diet; however, we need only about 2/3 teaspoon a day.  That is 1573 mg. of sodium.  Any more than that alters your brain chemistry.  Consuming salt triggers the release of dopamine, the Dr. Feelgood neurotransmitter in your brain's pleasure center.  Rack up another addiction.

Physicians tell their patients with high blood pressure to cut back on the consumption of salt - which is a good idea except that unless you remove all processed foods from your diet and never or rarely patronize a fast food establishment - it is almost impossible.  Those who have carefully watched their sodium intake will tell you that they now find most foods much too salty for their taste.

Eating whole foods will supply all the sodium you need.  For instance, a small stalk of celery has 49 mg., a medium carrot has 42 mg., a cup of  chopped spinach has 63 mg., a medium tomato has 5 mg., a cup of chopped curly kale has 29 mg.  If this all sounds like a salad - you're right.  Just add some low sodium salad dressing or salsa and you have a satisfying snack.  Toss in some beans and you've got lunch.