Should You Cut Back On Salt To Lose Weight?

June 7, 2016

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been in the headlines lately, first with its announcement of a new packaged food Nutrition Facts Label improving designed to improve our understanding of a food’s sugar content. Now the agency is targeting Americans’ sodium levels, saying that we are consuming about a third more than we should. But what is all the fuss about salt?

For starters, the data is clear on the impact too much salt has on our health. Excessive amounts of it over time can damage blood vessels and lead to high blood pressure. And dangerously high blood pressure leads to stroke. In a nutshell, too much salt is not good for your health.

Your first thought might be to reconsider that extra sprinkle of salt from your shaker at home, but surprisingly table salt is not the real problem. According to the American Heart Association, over 75% of salt intake comes from processed foods. Unless you are paying close attention to the food nutrition labels, you probably aren’t even aware of the amount of sodium you’re consuming.

So what does all of this have to do with weight loss?

The link between salt and body weight lies mainly in the processed foods mentioned above. Many of the foods that contain too much salt are the same ones that contain high levels of calories, sugar and bad fats (versus good fats). Clinical research has repeatedly pointed to processed foods as a primary source of America’s obesity epidemic. And to top it off, obesity is also a main driver of high blood pressure. The combination of high-sodium foods and high body weight can spell absolute disaster for your health.

The clinical research showing a direct effect of excessive sodium intake on weight gain is yet to be seen. But it is safe to say that cutting back on high-sodium processed foods can help you reduce your weight as well as your risk of high blood pressure. The FDA can go only so far in truly affecting how much sodium is in our food, so get ahead of the game and start the cutback today.

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