Many people are well aware of the health problems that too much salt can cause, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. But most people are not aware of how excess salt contributes to weight gain.
Sodium, along with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium, is an electrolyte that helps keep your metabolism running. Minerals, such as sodium, ensure that the proper amounts of nutrients and wastes are flowing in and out of your body. Minerals also aid in stabilizing the acid-base (pH) balance in your blood. If you get too much sodium, you create electrolyte imbalances that throw your body off-kilter.
This means your metabolism can’t function at its peak and you can’t burn fat.
Excess salt also negatively affects insulin, a hormone that helps transport sugar out of the blood and into the muscles and tissues for energy. This means that insulin can’ do its job, so sugar builds up in the blood, damaging vessels and making it difficult for fat-burning oxygen to flow to cells and melt fat.
Making matters worse, when people gain weight, especially in the abdominal area, they can become insulin resistant. This means their bodies do not respond well to insulin. In response, the pancreas secretes more insulin, which in time can result in diabetes. With higher insulin levels, not only does your body store more fat, but your kidneys will have a harder time getting rid of salt, which can lead to electrolyte imbalances, high blood pressure, and bloating.
In addition to weight gain, too much sodium can take a toll on your appearance, causing a puffy and tired-looking face. Ever notice that after a meal filled with salty foods (think soy sauce, smoked fish or meat, French fries, or chips) your stomach is distended and you weigh more the next morning? That’s your body’s reaction to eating too much salt. The retention of extra water and fluid leads to major bloating. Even if you’re skinny, you’ll still look bloated and puffy from all the excess fluid.
It’s not all about the calories!! Low caloric foods such as low fat and fat free food items tend to contain more sodium than full fat products. When fat is taken out of a naturally fatty food item the fat is replaced with sodium based preservative, otherwise known as a filler. Sodium based preservatives are found in most household food items, such as: Frozen fruits & vegetables, can foods, fruit juices, salad dressings, sodas and deli meats.
The average American consumes more than 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day. That is equivalent to eating one full teaspoon of table salt per day. The American Heart Association recommends American’s should consume less than 1,500 milligrams, whereas, the Food and Drug Administration recommends around 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for healthy individuals.
Salt is not the same thing as sodium. Salt contains sodium and chloride. However, to simplify, we use the terms “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably since most people need to reduce sodium, and the best way to do it is to cut back on salt.
Diets high in sodium increase the number of fat cells in your body, slow your metabolism, increases insulin resistance and makes you hungrier and thirstier. Salt also makes it more difficult for fat-burning oxygen to break down fat deposits. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce your waist size and increase your vitality all you have to do is follow this one simple rule; never consume more than 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium per meal.
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