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Thread: Sodium????

  1. #1


    Hi all!!

    I am a little "Sodium-Ignorant" and would like to know what a lot of the high-sodium foods are so that I can avoid them. I know some of them, but would like to know a little more.
    Can anyone help me learn the sodium foods that I should be avoiding?

    Website: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

  2. #2


    Read labels. The worst culprits, by far, are processed and fast food. Things like pickles, saurkraut, canned veggies, frozen entrees are loaded with sodium. I was shocked to see how much sodium is in some of my favorite 0-point lifesavers. Canned artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, green beans all have tons of sodium.
    Jessica (in Seattle)
    HW: 204.4
    CW: 165.6
    WWG: 148
    PG: 135
    Getting back to goal

  3. #3
    girlinmotion Guest


    High sodium foods that pop up in my daily life are:
    -obviously...salty snacks (chips, popcorn, pretzels)
    -pickles and olives
    -cheese, especially feta
    -sauce and soup mixes (just-add-water packets of cheese sauce, soups, gravies etc)
    -canned soup
    -canned vegetables
    -bouillion cubes and some broth/stocks
    -noodle+sauce or rice+sauce mixes
    -deli meats (any processed or smoked meat is full of salt, that means hot dogs bacon etc too). The vegetarian soy versions are often just as salty.

    To eat lower sodium, keep an eye on any processed food. Salt is used to preserve things, and to make things taste better so it is pretty prevalent in prepared foods. If you aim for making simple foods from scratch without added salt you can eat very low sodium. Use herbs and spices, vinegars, lemon juice etc. to flavour your foods so you don't miss the salt.

    Hope that helps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Calgary!, Canada


    wow you sure know a lot about salt... hehe I eat a lot of salt... still not sure if its a bad thing but ya i try to cut backa bit but ya..
    sw216 cw214 gw175 or lower, <br />height 5'7"

  5. #5


    Thanks for the information buddies! It is a great help!

    One more question...I have started reading labels in the past few days, and am more aware of where the hidden sodium is. But, how much is too much in a single day? In the big article above, it mentions nor more than 480 mg in a single serving, but what about in a day? I read in a Shape magazine recently that you should stick to 500 mg. Does this seem a little low?

    Website: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

  6. #6
    imported_Kelly_S Guest


    Salt/Sodum - UGGGGGGGG!
    Many people think salt and sodium are one and the same. They’re not. Sodium is a basic chemical element, an electrolyte wee need regulate blood volume, to maintain the acid-balance, and to transmit nerve impulses and muscle contractions.
    Salt, on the other hand, is sodium chloride, a simple compound composed of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride (chloride, like sodium, is essential to life and import for maintaining the acid balance in the blood). Although sodium can also be found in things like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and mineral water, in our diets, sodium chloride – pure, white table salt – is by far the dominant form consumed.

    Currently, the average adult in the United States consumes 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams of sodium daily. Even at the low end, 4,000 milligrams of sodium comes out to about 10 grams of salt, or nearly 2 teaspoons, every day. Considering that the government sets a minimum 9f 500 milligrams for adequacy and the Daily Values in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends moderate sodium intakes of 2,400 milligrams a daily – found in about 6 grams of salt – we eat much more salt than we need to. Whether high salt intakes are actually bad for us is another issue and one that is surrounded by controversy.

    Throughout the centuries, salt has been a valuable commodity. It’s used as a preservative and processing agent in foods as breads, meats, and pickled vegetables. Some foods, like cheese, cannot be formed without salt. Today, its main purpose is as a flavor enhancer, heightening and intensifying natural flavors, at the same time adding its own characteristic flavor – a taste many people crave.

    According to the Food and Drug Administration, about 75 percent of the sodium we consume is in the form of processed foods – canned, frozen, and convenience items. The rest of our sodium comes naturally from food (about 15 percent) and as salt (about 10 percent) in its pure form, added during cooking or straight from the shaker once the meal is served.


    Part of the reason people have so much trouble lowering their salt intake is that many times they just don’t know they’re eating it. Food doesn’t have to taste salty to be high in sodium. These hidden sources of salt are our worse enemies. Take for example the difference between potato chips and corn flakes. Most people assume the potato chips are higher in salt. But a once-ounce serving of potato chips contains about 150 milligrams of sodium; the same size serving of corn flakes has nearly twice that amount. Following are some other surprisingly high sodium foods:

    Canned Corn, ½ cup = 285 mgs
    Instant Vanilla Pudding, ½ cup from box mix = 410 mgs
    Canned tuna fish, 2 ounces (light chunk, packed in water) = 300 mgs
    Pizza, frozen, ¼ pie (4.5 ounces) = 770 mgs
    Cheese, American, processed, 1 ounce = 410 mgs
    English Muffin, 1 = 365 mgs
    Ketchup, tomato, 2 tablespoons = 360 mgs
    Turkey Hot Dog – 485 mgs

    (Figures are based on Jean A. T. Pennington’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Consumed, 16th ed. [Philadelphia, Penn.: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1994).


    Despite its illustrious past, over the last few decades salt has fallen out of favor with the American public because too much salt is said to trigger hypertension, or high blood pressure, in some individuals. Hypertension, defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or above, afflicts nearly 50 million Americans and is believed to play a role in 700,00 deaths a year, primarily from heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

    Results from a massive 1988 research project called Intersalt found that the more sodium a person excretes in the urine, the higher their blood pressure. Sine, in general, urinary sodium levels are directly related to the amount of salt a person consumes, the research concluded that people who eat more salt have higher blood pressure than people who eat less. The study also showed that high salt intakes increases the rise in blood pressure that naturally occurs with age.

    But some scientists do not believe everyone needs to reduce salt consumption. Research from Toronto, Canada, found that older adults who already have hypertension could only mildly lower their blood pressure by restricting salt in their diet. Moreover, there was no benefit associated with a low-salt diet for younger people with normal blood pressure.

    The problem is that not everyone’s blood pressure will respond to changes in salt intake, and there is no way of knowing who is salt-sensitive and who is not. In any case, the medical community does agree that salt is only part of the picture.

    The most promising findings for controlling hypertension come for DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a recent landmark study that looked at total diet and high blood pressure. Through careful clinical trials, DASH researchers concluded that a diet low in fat, and rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy foods lowered blood pressure levels just as effectively as many antihypertensive drugs.

    Researchers think the result is a combination of several factors: the high mineral content found in fruits and vegetables, the calcium in dairy foods, the low fat intake, and the reduced salt intake (participants were given a constant 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day).


    Eating a diet high in salt exacerbates calcium losses, ultimately leading to a loss in bone density. AT a sodium level of 2,400 milligrams a day, taking in the recommended RDA of 1,200 milligrams of dietary calcium will sufficiently protect your bones; consuming more slat requires an increase in calcium. Since few Americans meet the calcium RDA as it is, women, especially, should keep salt intake in check.

    In addition to osteoporosis, scientists think taking in large amounts of sodium over a long period of time may be related to asthma, kidney stones, and stomach cancer.


    Even if you don’t have hypertension or other health problems, cutting back on salt may still be a wise decision. The easiest way to do this is to pinpoint the source of most of your salt intake. Since convenience foods contain the largest amounts of sodium in the average diet, steering clear of these products or choosing low-sodium brands is your first step. Here are a few others:

    1) Read food labels to see if a product is high in sodium. Try to choose foods with fewer than 480 milligrams of sodium per serving.
    2) Stay away from salty foods like pretzels (buy unsalted), potato chips, olives and pickles.
    3) In cooking, replace the salt with extra herbs and spices to pump up the flavor in soups, sauces, and entrees. Some good choices are garlic, lemon, basil, mint, oregano, thyme and parsley.
    4) If you do use salt, add it in at the end of cooking or sue the salt shaker at the table instead. Cooking mutes salt’s flavor, so adding it in later means you’ll need less salt in the long run.
    5) Watch out for processed meats, frozen foods, and canned items. They are usually loaded with sodium. Choose low-sodium or sodium-free varieties if available.

    From THE COMPLETE BOOK OF FITNESS MIND*BODY*SPIRIT by the editors of Fitness Magazine with Karen Andres. Copyright 1999 by Roundtable Press, Inc., and Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing

    The Risks of Salt

    The paragraphs below are extracted from an article appearing in the New York TImes on May 8, 2001, written by Jane E. Brody, noted science writer for that newspaper.

    "But, as it turns out, hypertension is only one possible consequence of a high-salt diet. A well-documented new
    book, "The Salt Solution" by Herb Boynton, Mark F. McCarty and Dr. Richard D. Moore, links our "salt
    addiction" not just to high blood pressure and its well-established consequences of heart disease and stroke, but
    also to osteoporosis, asthma and kidney disease and possibly ulcers and stomach cancer.

    When the body accumulates more sodium than it needs, it excretes it through the kidneys in urine. And in the
    process, it also excretes calcium — 23 milligrams of calcium for every teaspoon of extra salt consumed. That's
    enough to dissolve 1 percent of skeletal bone a year, or 10 percent over the course of a decade.

    This occurs in men as well as in women, and young girls who are forever snacking on salty foods are setting
    themselves up for future bone disease. The increase in urinary calcium can also contribute to kidney stones.

    The role of salt in asthma is less clear, but a British study has linked the rate of deaths from asthma to the amount
    of salt used. And a second study showed that increasing the sodium intake by people with asthma rendered them
    more susceptible to allergenic stimuli.

    Finally, there is a strong relationship in population studies between the average intake of salt and the rate of
    ulcers and stomach cancer. For example, in Korea, where foods are very rich in sodium from salt and soy sauce,
    stomach cancer is the leading malignant disease.

    Salt, while not a direct carcinogen, appears to promote cancer, perhaps by injuring the stomach lining and/or
    aiding the damage done by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the major cause of ulcers."

    "Salt Intake is Vital"

    Salt is a vital substance for the survival of all living creatures, particularly humans. Water and salt regulate the water content of the body. Water itself regulates the water content of the interior of the cell by working its way into all of the cells it reaches. It has to get there to cleanse and extract the toxic wastes of cell metabolisms. Salt forces some water to stay outside the cells. It balances the amount of water that stays outside the cells. There are two oceans of water in the body; one ocean is held inside the cells of the body, and the other ocean is held outside the cells. Good health depends on a most delicate balance between the volume of these oceans, and this balance is achieved by salt - unrefined salt.

    When water is available to get inside the cells freely, it is filtered from the outside salty ocean and injected into the cells that are being overworked despite their water shortage. This is the reason why in severe dehydration we develop an edema and retain water. The design of our bodies is such that the extent of the ocean of water outside the cells is expanded to have the extra water available for filtration and emergency injection into vital cells. The brain commands an increase in salt and water retention by the kidneys. This is how we get an edema when we don't drink enough water.

    Initially, the process of water filtration and its delivery into the cells is more efficient at night when the body is horizontal. The collected water, that mostly pools in the legs, does not have to fight the force of gravity to get onto the blood circulation. If reliance of this process of emergency hydration of some cells continues for long, the lungs begin to get waterlogged at night, and breathing becomes difficult. The person needs more pillows to sit upright to sleep. This condition is the consequence of dehydration. However, you might overload the system by drinking too much water at the beginning. Increases in water intake must be slow and spread out until urine production begins to increase at the same rate that you drink water.
    When we drink enough water to pass clear urine, we also pass out a lot of the salt that was held back. This is how we can get rid of edema fluid in the body; by drinking more water. Not diuretics, but more water!! In people who have an extensive edema and show signs of their heart beginning to have irregular or very rapid beats with least effort, the increase in water intake should be gradual and spaced out, but not withheld from the body. Naturally, salt intake should be limited for two or three days because the body is still in an overdrive mode to retain it. Once the edema has cleared up, salt should not be withheld from the body.

    Salt has many other functions than just regulating the water content of the body. Here are some of the more vital functions of salt in the body:

    1. Salt is most effective in stabilizing irregular heartbeats and, Contrary to the misconception that it causes high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure - in conjunction with water. Naturally the proportions are critical.

    2. Salt is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.

    3. Salt is vital for balancing the sugar levels in the blood; a needed element in diabetics.

    4. Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body. It is used for local power generation at the sites of energy need by the cells.

    5. Salt is vital to the nerve cells' communication and information processing all the time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death.

    6. Salt is vital for absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.

    7. Salt is vital for the clearance of the lungs of mucus plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.

    8. Salt is vital for clearing up catarrh and congestion of the sinuses.

    9. Salt is a strong natural antihistamine.

    10. Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

    11. Salt is vital to prevent excess saliva production to the point that it flows out of the mouth during sleep. Needing to constantly mop up excess saliva indicates salt shortage.

    12. Salt is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in a major way, is a result of salt and water shortage in the body.

    13. Salt is vital for sleep regulation. It is a natural hypnotic.

    14. Salt is a vitally needed element in the treatment of diabetics.

    15. Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs.

    16. Salt is vital for the prevention of gout and gouty arthritis.

    17. Salt is vital for maintaining sexuality and libido.

    18. Salt is vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs.

    19. Salt is vital to the communication and information processing nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work - from the moment of conception to death.

    20. Salt is vital for reducing a double chin. When the body is short of salt, it means the body really is short of water. The salivary glands sense the salt shortage and are obliged to produce more saliva to lubricate the act of chewing and swallowing and also to supply the stomach with water that it needs for breaking down foods. Circulation to the salivary glands increases and the blood vessels become "leaky" in order to supply the glands with water to manufacture saliva. The "leakiness" spills beyond the area of the glands themselves, causing increased bulk under the skin of the chin, the cheeks and into the neck.

    21. Sea salt contains about 80 mineral elements that the body needs. Some of these elements are needed in trace amounts. Unrefined sea salt is a better choice of salt than other types of salt on the market. Ordinary table salt that is bought in the super markets has been stripped of its companion elements and contains additive elements such as aluminum silicate to keep it powdery and porous. Aluminum is a very toxic element in our nervous system. It is implicated as one of the primary causes of Alzheimer's disease.

    22. Twenty-seven percent of the body's salt is in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the body. Bones are twenty-two percent water. Is it not obvious what happens to the bones when we're deficient in salt or water or both.

    reiki gal, "Please note #'s 21 & 22...they were most important to me. I began using Celtic Natural Sea Salt over 5 months ago, along with increasing my water to the advised amount [1/2 your body weight in ounces..ex. 200 lbs.=100 ounces of water daily + 1/4 tsp. salt for every 32oz. water]. I can't begin to tell you what a tremendous difference it has made. There is much more information on how & why this works in treating chronic health problems, facts & testimonials on the below site.

    As always, if you are on any medical regimen, discuss this with your doctor. [By following this plan, my sister has been taken off high blood pressure medicine which she has taken for years.]"

  7. #7
    imported_Kelly_S Guest


    This is from my text book and is in the first section of the info I posted:

    Currently, the average adult in the United States consumes 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams of sodium daily. Even at the low end, 4,000 milligrams of sodium comes out to about 10 grams of salt, or nearly 2 teaspoons, every day. Considering that the government sets a minimum 9f 500 milligrams for adequacy and the Daily Values in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends moderate sodium intakes of 2,400 milligrams a daily – found in about 6 grams of salt – we eat much more salt than we need to. Whether high salt intakes are actually bad for us is another issue and one that is surrounded by controversy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    central NY state


    I believe the "Daily Value" for sodium is 2000mg. This isn't realistic for most people though - my dad has a history of heart problems and his dr. said 3000mg was more realistic for maintenance (after the first 3 months), and my brother-in-law (a doctor) said 5000mg is probably OK for most people. Are you sure Shape said 500mg? Or was it possibly 5000mg? Even that is way below what most of us consume if we're not paying close attention. My mom was going nuts trying to keep dad's sodium under 2000mg. She had to worry about the sodium in the baking powder for homemade pancakes (after already omitting the salt).

    You don't want to go too low, especially if you are exercising -- that can also cause serious problems.

    Unless you have a problem with your blood pressure or another reason to go on a low-salt diet, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Original SW 175 (1996)
    2008 stats: SW 153.6 12/31/07 ~ HW 156.0 09/15/08 ~ CW 153.2 09/22/08 ~ GW 137 ~ PGW 130
    My pictures!
    "Good food brings good health and longevity." - Chinese fortune cookie

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Pacific Northwest


    I've also heard the Daily Value at 2400 mg., which is about "one teaspoon".

    My Dr. told me: "Throw away your salt shaker."

    Me: "FOREVER?!"

    Dr: "Forever. AND, use half the salt that is called for in recipes." [img]graemlins/wave.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/bcbsalute.gif[/img]
    May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering.

    Check out my website!


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