What’s Up With Sodium?
Here we go again!
For years we’ve been warned to limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day; about 1 teaspoon of table salt (2 teaspoons of kosher salt). Americans average around 4,000 mg per day.
Now, three newly published reports state a high sodium diet is good and low sodium diets are bad. Sound familiar? Haven’y we been there before?
- Margarine is good, butter is bad.
- Butter is good, margarine is bad.
- Dietary supplements are good.
- Dietary supplements are worthless.
- Fats are bad.
- Fats are good.
- Gluten is good.
- Gluten is bad.
It never seems to end. And there are reasons for the conflicting advice. The “experts” haven’t got a clue! That’s right, they are clueless, biased, or have a conflict of interest.
The latest study, that of course made breaking news, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine so the media ate it up! Most news anchors are nothing more than talking heads reading a prepared script approved by management to boost ratings and not offend investors and advertisers.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The report was criticized by experts immediately after it’s publication for being flawed in several ways, but errors seldom receive the same amount of air time as the original reports or may not be mentioned at all.
In 2014, butter made a comeback and eating all the fat you want makes headlines but the authors of the article admitted there were errors in their report but that information makes the obituary page or is ignored. People want to hear that butter and bacon are good. Restaurants have turned out one bacon laden menu item after another. Not getting enough saturated fat from bacon? We’ll pile on cheese.
In the sodium report, the authors claimed people on a low sodium diet had the same rate of heart attacks and death as people on high sodium diets. What the authors didn’t emphasize was the studies they used backing their claim was conducted with people on a low sodium diet because they were at high risk of a heart attack.
Heart attacks occur for a variety of reasons. A high sodium diet is only one risk factor.
Sodium Causes Water Retention
The problem when you consume too much sodium which is almost unavoidable if your diet is mostly processed foods, fast foods, and restaurant foods, is that sodium cause the body to retain water.
Increased water in your arteries and veins increases blood volume and can increase blood pressure.
High blood pleasure is known as a silent killer because there are no symptoms. Many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it until it is too late.
Not all people who consume sodium rich foods develop high blood pressure.
Load Up on Potassium Rich Foods
The opposite of sodium is potassium. Foods like potatoes, bananas, and halibut are high in potassium. Potassium in some processed foods like potato chips and canned beans reduce the effects of sodium.
Potassium causes water loss. So eating a diet high in potassium rich foods reduces the affect of sodium.
A vegetarian diet is a potassium rich diet. Fruits, vegetables, and some fish are high in potassium.
The Paleo diets emphasis on meat and fat is a potassium poor diet.
When you increase sodium intake and reduce potassium intake by eat a high meat protein diet, you increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases by:
- Increase blood volume by eating too many sodium rich foods
- Increase cholesterol and plaque by eating foods high in saturated fats.