The amount of sodium in the diet is an old issue that is getting new attention with those in the field of nutrition and health. Of particular interest is the connection between sodium and obesity. A current theory is that a dangerous level of salt toxicity can cause the body to produce more fat cells. And those sodium toxic fat cells can be denser and more difficult to get rid of.
The medical community has linked an excess of sodium in the diet with hypertension and heart disease for decades. Now it is also clear that when salt builds up to toxic levels it can cause and contribute to stomach cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and a number of different maladies.
Salt toxicity is a growing health concern for Americans because of the amount of salt that is being used by food manufacturers and large restaurant chains as a preservative. Because diners are not aware of the “hidden salt” in their processed foods and menu selections, they are making uninformed choices that have dangerous consequences. The cumulative effects of sodium overconsumption is starting to show up in national disease statistics.
A book which addresses the dangers of salt and how to effectively do a salt detox was written by New York dieticians Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos. The Lakatos sisters (a/k/a “The Nutrition Twins“) have found in their nutrition practice that the sodium issue is becoming so huge, that unless American dieters first go through salt detox, most will continue to get huge, despite their best efforts.
Recognizing that it can be treacherous for Americans to navigate their way through the minefield of sodium-rich foods offered to them, The Nutrition Twins give dozens of simple ideas that help their clients and readers to a salt detox diet and achieve a healthy salt balance. Here are some of the “Twin Tips” that are included in their book, “The Secret to Skinny”:
- Unsalted pistachios are the “skinny nut” because they are high in proten, fiber, and healthy fat. Buy them in the shell because the work it takes to eat them will make it hard to eat too many. (Avoid the roasted and salted pistachios completely!)
- “Low fat” does not mean “low sodium.” Often low fat and no-fat products have even more sodium and sugar to compensate for the flavor that is lost when the fat is removed.
- Salt is sometimes hidden in other ingredients. Products that contain disodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium alginate, and sodium nitrate (or nitrite) contain more sodium than you think.
- Swap your sodium-rich breakfast cereal for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit. This will completely eliminate salt from your breakfast and leave you feeling less bloated all day.
- Canned vegetables can make you fat because of the extremely high amount of sodium. Always rinse canned vegetables instead of consuming the salty liquid they’re packed in.
- Parsley is not just a garnish, it’s a natural diuretic. Add it to your recipes for eating, not just for looking pretty on your plate.
- Instead of eating greasy salty popcorn, eat air-popped popcorn seasoned with cayenne powder, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, coriander, or chili powder for a flavorful treat instead.
- Don’t forget that dairy products contain sodium too. Read the labels carefully because sometimes low fat and no fat versions have the most sodium and will make you retain water weight.
- After eating a sodium-rich meal (like Chinese, for example) you can cure a “salt hangover” by drinking 2 cups of green tea and eating 4 dried plums to flush the salt out of your system more quickly.
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