Diets High in Sodium May Lead to Disease and Death

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by: John M. Yarlott
Tags: sodium, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) People who regularly eat foods high in sodium risk having diseases such as hypertension, Type II diabetes mellitus, respiratory complications, Dislipidemia, Gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon). Most of the daily sodium intake comes from salt. The DRI Upper Limit (UL) for salt in adults is 5.8 grams/day yet 95% of American men and 75% of American women exceed that limit(1).

Excess intake of sodium in the daily diet may lead to Hypertension (High blood pressure) and obesity which, in turn, may lead to a host of dietary diseases. It is well known that excess sodium leads to hypertension. The link between high blood pressure, also known as the silent killer, and heart disease is well established. Heart disease is one of the most likely causes of death in the USA.

Sodium has zero calories, so how does excess sodium lead to obesity? The majority of sodium in the diet comes from eating foods high in salt. A number of things, including eating a salty meal cause thirstiness (2) which leads people to drink more liquids. If they choose beverages high in carbohydrates, such as beer and soft drinks it is the additional calories in the beverages, consumed that may lead to overweight and obesity. When the calories consumed exceed those burned the excess calories are stored as white adipose tissue (WAT) and over a period of time can cause an overweight condition. Obesity is associated with: a higher risk of respiratory complications, osteoarthritis, Type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), Dislipidemia, Gallbladder disease, and some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon).

The link between a high salt diet and obesity may never have been proven by means of clinical trials but analysis of macro data, for example the increase in obesity in Americans correlating with increased salt sales provides evidence that it exists (1). Conversely reducing salt in the diet would reduce thirstiness, reduce the drinking, and lose those excess pounds. The first step to weight loss is limiting salt intake(3).

Those who are overweight might want to consider a lower salt diet (4). They can find out if they are overweight by consulting their doctor. As a guide they can check their body mass index here ( If it is higher than 25%, they are considered overweight. To lose weight people need low sodium food and drink. Potassium rich food and drink will also help because potassium displaces sodium from the body (6).

Typical foods High in sodium include: corned beef, bread, ham, bacon, kippers, sausages, cheese. People, who find it hard to cut down on salt, should do it gradually. Their taste should gradually change. They should try using spices and herbs such as: pepper, basil, chives, lemon grass, rosemary, coriander, chili, ginger, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, rather than salt, to add flavor to their food. They could try using olive oil, herbs and spices on their salads in lieu of prepared dressings.

For a table of foods high in Sodium, a component of salt, to use as a guide in daily meal planning, people can go to this link Foods High in Sodium ( Foods ver 2.htm). This table gives the amount of Sodium in various foods sorted from highest most to lowest by mg sodium/serving. The daily Upper Limit (UL) for Sodium in adults is 2300 mg/day (8). People who want to lose weight and live longer ought to consider reducing their daily Sodium intake.


(7)USDA Nutrition Database SR-20
(8)Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI's):Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL), Elements

About the author

John Yarlott developed his writing skills during his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. His work included testing jet engines and writing the test reports for use by the design and management groups. He later worked at IBM as writer of guides for computer design. He ran technical symposiums and published the hundreds of technical reports on computer packaging. John was also a store systems engineer in IBM marketing where he wrote computer programs for customers that generated reports based on transaction data in the checkout terminals. Johnís last assignment before retiring was as a technical support engineer for IBMís database software. During retirement he wrote training manuals for Microsoft Office Products at Hill & Knowlton, a division of WPP. He wrote web based data acquisition programs that captured human resources data in a MS Access database. The firm had offices in 52 countries therefore using the Internet to communicate with the database in New York was a time saving solution. Now retired for the second time, John has turned his attention to web publishing about matters of his own interest including health, nutrition, food economics, and global energy on his personal website: .

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