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Diabetes and Sodium: How Much Salt Should I Eat?

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Most people know that diabetics need to watch the amount of carbohydrates they consume in a day, but everyone also knows that diabetics need to watch their salt intake It does not mean.

So, how much salt should you consume? This article outlines how much sodium people with diabetes need in their diets, the risks of overeating, and how to reduce your daily salt intake to improve your health.

Diabetes and Sodium: How Much Salt Should I Eat?

Key Point:

  • Sodium is one of the elements found in salt.of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, The American Heart Association recommends that you ideally consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.
  • Excessive salt intake can cause high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and potential vision loss, especially when combined with diabetes. It is very important for diabetics to monitor their salt intake to avoid these serious health complications.
  • The majority of sodium in our diets (more than 70 percent) comes from processed foods and fast food restaurants, not from table salt.
  • Reducing your sodium intake can be achieved by preparing meals at home, focusing on unprocessed, whole foods, reading nutrition labels, choosing low-sodium products, and using herbs and spices in place of salt. .
  • Working closely with your health care provider to determine a personalized sodium intake goal is also essential to effectively managing your health.

What’s so bad about salt?

sodium One of the elements found in salt, approximately 40 percent of the volume of salt By weight.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration According to the FDA, the average American consumes far more sodium than the recommended amount, more than 3,400 mg per day.

Moderate amounts of salt (and iodine, which is added to most table salt in the United States) are very important for the body to function properly.

The exact minimum level of sodium required for optimal body function has not been precisely established, but it has been estimated that: Just 200mg to 500mg of sodium daily It is essential for important processes such as electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood pressure, and supporting normal nerve and muscle function.

However, excessive salt intake can be harmful to your health. Not only can eating too much salt raise your blood pressure, but a diet high in sodium can increase your risk of: Heart disease and stroke — two conditions. People with diabetes are already at high risk of developing the disease..

Sodium naturally absorbs water. When consumed through a high-sodium diet, it draws water into the bloodstream, increasing blood volume and raising blood pressure.

Chronic high blood pressure is known as hypertension. People who have high blood pressure have their hearts work harder to pump blood around the body, which can damage vital organs including the brain, eyes, kidneys, and, of course, the heart. .

over time, People with high blood pressure are at higher risk It treats conditions such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease or failure, and vision loss. When combined with a diabetes diagnosis, the health impact is even greater.

Is sea salt better than table salt?

By weight, sea salt and table salt Contains the same amount of sodiumTherefore, one is not better than the other from a health perspective.

The main differences between these types of salt are in taste, texture, and processing method. Sea salt is minimally processed, made from evaporated seawater, and may contain trace minerals from the bodies of water that source it, which can affect the salt’s appearance and taste. there is.

Table salt comes from rock salt mines and is processed to remove minerals. It also often has added iodine, meaning it has been fortified with the mineral iodine.

How does sodium affect diabetes?

Research shows that high sodium intake increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Part of this association may be due to the potential role of salt, a precursor to type 2, in contributing to insulin resistance.

Research including research from tulane university Using data from UK Biobank And the other thing is National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)indicating that people who frequently add salt to their food are more likely to develop diabetes.

The results of this study suggest that reducing salt intake may be a valuable strategy in diabetes prevention, even in people without hypertension. This highlights the importance of considering not only carbohydrates but also salt in dietary guidelines for people at risk of diabetes.

Even if you don’t develop high blood pressure, excess salt in your diet can lead to dehydration.

While sodium itself may not directly affect blood sugar, dehydration may contribute to difficulty managing blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and an increased likelihood of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) over time. There is a gender.

What are the main causes of excess sodium?

Contrary to popular belief, the salt shaker at the center of most people’s diets is not the fault of most people’s diets.

Rather, more than that, 70 percent of dietary sodium came from Fast food restaurants and processed foods consumed outside the home, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Circulation. This varies greatly depending on the type and amount of packaged food, but you should be careful if you do not prepare it at home. Common causes of excess sodium include:

  • pizza
  • pasta dishes
  • bread
  • Crisps
  • tortilla chips
  • sandwich
  • deli meat
  • pretzels
  • pork lines
  • Taco
  • burrito
  • fried chicken
  • soup
  • hamburger
  • french fries
  • Omelette
  • Anything with a flavorful sauce

How much salt should I consume per day?

of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 It is recommended that most Americans keep their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day.

of american heart association (AHA) suggests that ideally, most adults should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

People with diabetes, whether or not they already have heart disease or high blood pressure, should be very careful not to consume too much salt. Increased risk of those complications By becoming diabetic.

However, individual goals may vary, and some people may need to consume more sodium.

For example, athletes and people who drink large amounts of water may need additional sodium (especially during physical activity on very hot days), and people who sweat excessively may need to balance electrolytes. May require additional sodium to maintain.

People who eat only unprocessed whole foods (no added salt) may need to add some sodium to their diet.

People taking diuretics (“water pills”) should discuss their sodium intake goals with their doctor.

Always consult your doctor to determine the appropriate amount of sodium you need each day, considering your lifestyle and health goals.

Easy ways to reduce sodium intake

If you’re consuming more sodium than your health team recommends, there are some simple ways to reduce your daily intake.

Prepare your own meals and snacks at home

By cooking and packing your own breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you can significantly reduce the number of times you eat out at restaurants and fast food joints. This can significantly reduce your sodium intake as you have complete control over the amount of sodium added to your home-cooked meals.

Focus on whole, unprocessed foods rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and watch for sharp reductions in sodium intake.

Add herbs and spices instead of salt

Just add salt and pepper to complete the dish. Contains flavorful herbs and spices such as garlic, onion, cumin, turmeric, curry, coriander, parsley, and paprika.

Add brightness to your meals without adding salt and you won’t miss out.

Read the nutrition facts label

Carefully study the nutrition labels on the packaged foods you eat and try to stay below the 2,300 mg daily limit (or notice how much above or below that number you are at first).

Simply being conscious of your sodium intake throughout the day can help you limit or eliminate foods that are simply too much.

Choose salt-free or low-salt foods

Choosing unsalted or low-sodium versions of your favorite foods, such as nuts, chips, canned beans, canned vegetables, bread, tomato sauce, and soups, will help you stay on top of your diet without saying goodbye to that variety completely. You can significantly reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. About my favorite food.

Look out for sodium-free or reduced-salt versions of your favorite products, as more grocery stores carry these options for consumers.

When eating out, you can request dishes without added salt. Not only is this healthier, but it can show the chef’s expertise in using herbs and spices rather than sodium to enhance flavor.

limit portions

Reducing the amount of food you eat is the same as reducing the amount of sodium. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. If you’re going out for lunch, cutting your sandwich in half will obviously cut your sodium intake in half for that meal.

It also created an opportunity to add more nutritious options. For example, halving your sandwich and adding a side salad full of leafy greens and colorful vegetables is a balanced approach to reducing your sodium intake.

By cutting back on portions of things like pizza and pasta (or choosing appetizers as the main course when you’re having dinner at a restaurant), you can probably reduce the amount of sodium you consume by a few hundred milligrams per day.

Check the seasonings

Popular seasonings such as soy sauce, fish and shrimp saucesalsas, hot sauces, and prepackaged salad dressings commonly contain large amounts of unnecessary sodium.

Make your own salad dressing at home with lemon or lime juice, black pepper, and olive oil, then add sodium-free toppings. You can also ask for a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette on your salad at the restaurant.

Add fresh herbs and spices to your dishes, and flavorful extra-virgin olive oil without salt.

Get the support you need

Having the support of family and friends can be very helpful when trying to reduce salt.

Collaborate to come up with fun low-sodium recipes or host a potluck dinner where everyone brings in new low-sodium dishes to share.

You can skip daily trips to buy fast food or weekly dinner dates at restaurants and instead enjoy more meals at home with your loved ones and work towards achieving your health goals together. No need to add salt!

final thoughts

Managing sodium intake is an important but often overlooked part of diabetes treatment. Although there tends to be a focus on carbohydrates and blood sugar control, we cannot underestimate the impact sodium has on overall health, especially for people at high risk of cardiovascular complications.

By making informed food choices, being mindful of salt in processed and fast foods, and adopting healthier cooking and eating habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure and related health problems. can be reduced to

In addition to these dietary changes, it’s important to consult your health care team regularly to adjust your salt intake to suit your personal health.

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