What’s The Deal On SALT?

salt

For the average person following the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), processed salt (also known as table salt) has become a serious risk and a major factor contributing to heart disease, blood pressure issues, thyroid imbalances, obesity, and kidney disease. According to research statistics, the average person consumes approximately 3500mg of salt daily. Based on my experience (using computerized software to determine dietary salt consumption) the actual number ranges between 4000-5000mg daily. The current guidelines recommend a diet no higher than 2300mg/day and believe higher risk candidates would benefit from a reduced intake to 1500mg. Many people claim not to add salt to their foods. If that’s true, how can the average person consume so much salt?

PROCESSED SALT is a key ingredient found in many of our PROCESSED FOODS. These numbers are so high, you can avoid adding salt altogether, and still easily exceed the recommended limits. Below is a sample list of foods and condiments demonstrating where SALT HIDES. These foods commonly use PROCESSED salt to add shelf life as well as flavor:

  • Cold Cereal (3/4 cup) 85-350mg
  • Spaghetti Sauce in a Jar (1/2 cup) 310-510mg
  • Beef Jerky (1oz.) 500mg
  • Eggo Pancakes (3 pancakes) 580mg
  • Morningstar black bean burger (1 burger) 700mg
  • Heinz ketchup (1tbsp) 190mg
  • French’s mustard (1tbsp) 165mg
  • Kraft single slice American cheese (1 slice) 200mg
  • Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel (1 slice) 190mg
  • V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice( 8oz) 480mg
  • Green Giant Mushrooms (1/2 cup) 440mg
  • Perdue Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast (1/2 cup) 460mg
  • Lender’s whole grain Plain bagels (1 bagel) 490mg
  • Ken’s Lite Italian Salad Dressing (2tbsp) 440mg
  • DiGiorno Thin Pepperoni Pizzs (For One) 1170mg
  • Rice a Roni Spanish Rice (1 cup) 1250mg
  • Duncan Hines Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake (1/12 cake) 380mg
  • Bertolli Mediterranean Style Shrimp and Penne Primavera (12oz) 890mg
  • Campbell’s Homestyle chicken Noodle Soup (1/2 cup) 940mg
  • Friendship 1% low fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) 360mg
  • Otis Spunkmeyer Harvest Bran Muffin (1 muffin) 420mg
  • Lean Cusiine Baja-Style Chicken Quesadilla (1 meal) 690mg
  • Birds Eye Asian Vegetables in sesame ginger sauce (1 cup) 630mg
  • Vlasic Kosher Pickles (1 pickle) 880mg
  • Ramen Noodle Soup (1/2 package) 790mg

The reason PROCESSED is bold is because this is what makes salt so dangerous to the consumer. Standard table salt and those typically found in many processed foods contain approximately 97+% Sodium Chloride and 2.5+% anticaking chemical compounds (ex. ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate.) Natural salt like himalayan salt is only 85% sodium chloride and 15% trace minerals according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. Today, additional choices include sea salt, celtic salt and kosher salt.

SHOULD WE AVOID SALT ALTOGETHER?

breakfast-sodium

No. The first step we need to take is SIGNIFICANTLY reducing processed foods in our diet. The second step we need to take is reducing our frequency of eating out in restaurants. These meals frequently contain large quantities of salt. Preparing meals at home creates control over the quality and quantity of food choices. The third step requires evaluating grocery product labels to see the quantity of salt in the products being purchased.

Unless the consumer is willing to change their dietary habits and begin eating REAL FOOD in place of processed food,  even the healthiest choices of salts will add health risks to an individual’s profile. Those willing to make the change and commit to eating REAL FOOD will also be able to add better quality salts including himalayan or celtic salt in moderation to enhance flavor and provide the following health benefits:

  • Create an electrolyte balance.
  • Increase hydration.
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of the cells in our bodies.
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux.
  • Prevent muscle cramping.
  • Aid in proper metabolic function.
  • Strengthen bones.
  • Lower blood pressure.

WHAT ABOUT IODINE ADDED TO TABLE SALT?

Although iodine was added to table salt to prevent thyroid issues including hypothyroidism and goiter, the dangers we face consuming large quantities DO NOT outweigh the benefits. By substituting REAL FOODS including fish, dairy, eggs and seaweed (or seaweed capsules,) daily iodine requirements can easily be achieved while promoting a healthy body.

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63 comments

  1. Yes! I am happy that you posted this. It is so helpful. I too believe that eating processed food is so unhealthy on so many levels. I too believe in eating real food, and minimally processed. Thank you again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The real challenge is convincing the typical person that REAL FOOD is NOT a discretionary expense, but rather an ESSENTIAL expense. People just don’t realize how DESTRUCTIVE the typical eating style is until they experience its damaging effects. Without quality health the chances for quality living diminish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can lead a horse to water, but, you cannot make them thirsty. Ultimately, people make their own choices. It requires discipline and commitment to be focused on living a healthy lifestyle. But, your blog is a valuable service for people who want the information to live a healthier and ultimately happier life. What you have to say is very important! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are correct. People have to embrace change to gain the benefit desired. My suggestions are NOT based on short term fixes; they are based on lifelong improvements that add quality to life. For those seeking this kind of quality, I would bend over backwards to help them achieve their goals. For those unwilling to appreciate and value their own lives, I offer my condolences.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so interesting to me that even the healthier varieties, like the black bean burger listed, are loaded with salt. I avoid the supermarket, except for a few staples. Most of our food comes from farmer’s markets, which we are blessed to have in abundance. ☺

    p.s. I am seeing pink Himalayan salt everywhere these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is why I mentioned “hidden” sources of salt. Most people do not realize how much salt is found in ketchup, mustard and salad dressing. These condiments are often used in LARGE QUANTITIES to add flavor.
      As I mentioned, Himalayan salt does offer some healthful benefits, but NOT if people are already consuming large quantities of processed salt. This ingredient is simply not worth destroying one’s health and quality of life over!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps of all the healthy eating topics you touch upon, this one may be one of the most difficult. As you say so many foods contain salt, we never consider our real intake. I for one never sprinkle salt on anything, so this comfort that I feel is just an illusion. We recently purchased sea salt. Serious changes need to be made.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My patients were amazed to see that they were consuming 4000-5000mg on a regular basis. This creates massive imbalances in the body often WITHOUT EARLY WARNING SYMPTOMS. Cells will rupture, lose function, and ultimately interfere with the normal processes of the body. This leads to various diseases and DEATH. We must begin to realize that FOOD and FOOD INGREDIENTS can HEAL or KILL the BODY!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Doctor, all this time I was bragging to friends and family I don’t touch salt. Again, you opened my eyes. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. For the average person following the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.)

    I think the Standard American Diet is SAD indeed! I liked that. Excellent post, once again! I’m glad you discussed both processed foods and restaurants. My nephew, the chef, cued me in to the fact that, not only is the food he makes very high in salt, chef’s often “recycle” their seasoned butters and oils for use in other dishes, increasing the amounts of salt in the already over-salted food.

    I’m glad you brought up cereals also. It is very fast and easy to make homemade oat and nut granola. We use grade B maple syrup and just a small amount of Truvia brand brown sugar to sweeten. My children eat about 1/3 of what they would in the days we bought boxed cereal. The salt added is just a pinch.

    Thanks again, Jonathan, for all this wonderful work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have clearly taken responsibility for your family’s health for which they will likely benefit. It is not time consuming to modify bad habits into good ones. Denying reality will never prevent it from coming to fruition. We take responsibility for paying our bills, maintaining our cars, finding and maintaining employment. These are NOT necessarily tasks we look forward to. When it comes to our health (a task that requires the same level of commitment as the other responsibilities mentioned) our cognitive thinking misfires and dismisses this reality as inconsequential. Until we begin VALUING OUR LIVES and the LIVES OF OUR FAMILIES, we will continue to sabotage our health and remain the greatest source of perpetual self evil.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a daily battle, and there is always room for improvement. “Fast food” and “processed food” is such an easy fix for busy people, but the costs are not worth it. I like how you phrase it, “sabotage our health.” We have got to keep fighting…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow what an eye opener that list was! I know processed food is not healthy but this is ridiculous! I once looked in a calorie counter for an omelette or healthy choice I wanted to try at a fast food place, the salt, fat etc. was crazy! I sat on my own adding up how much it would be at home and it was not even close!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If people begin valuing themselves they will create time to feed their bodies the food it needs. I find the two things in life people frequently take for granted is personal health and marriage. It’s no wonder that both suffer a high failure rate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow that is so very true!

        Like

  6. Brilliant post ! I wish all these stats were out on bold massive boards outside fast food places, restaurants, grocery stores, but obviously that will never happen….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People will come to learn in time. They must first begin valuing their lives. A person who truly loves themself makes the effort to create time for ALL the necessary components to live a healthy life.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I stopped cooking with salt along tie ago….I use garlic salt, sea salt and pink Himalayan salt if I need to salt….most everyone who eats my cooking ask for salt…LOL I am never offended but glad they can taste the real food and not salt ladened food first….LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even with better choices of salt, you might look to other spices to flavor your cooking. Garlic powder would also be a better choice over garlic salt.

      Like

      1. Oh you misunderstood…I rarely use salt in anything….and I love cooking with fresh herbs…..not issues there…LOL

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

          Like

          1. no need to apologize just didn’t want you to think I was hardening my arteries….LOL

            Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always had a strange relationship with salt. I never use it at home, but I used to love the taste of the yucky processed foods you referred to, which I’m sure was largely due to the salt content. I don’t eat like that anymore and the thought of it kind of turns my stomach. However, my bestie advocates using some salt because she said your body needs it…I will get what I need from my daily banana! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your friend is right, we do need some. In over 20 years, I have never met a person who takes in too little. I wouldn’t feel the need to add some at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Eating out is such a huge culprit of high sodium content! That is why it is important for people to start taking advantage of the resources available now (most restaurants have dietary info on their foods) to make better choices when going out. Thanks for this great insight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is when people go out they don’t want to watch what they eat. This is very understandable. The compromise is eating out less frequently and preparing more meals at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right…many think of it as their “cheat” time, but they often over do it. Finding what works out best for each person is key:)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. We’ve started eating enough good food around here that I can sometimes actually taste the salt in processed foods when I have them, it’s such a jarring difference to my tastes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll be glad you’re following this new path. There are no “do overs” with the one body we go through life with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to start working in some more exercise during the day at work. I have the stand up desk, so it’s going to get a workout!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m looking to purchase the “stand up desk” for my home.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have a cheap one – I wanted to see if I liked it before I made any big commitment. I think now I would go for the more expensive one, but this one works, so I will keep it until it stops working for me.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. I really need to take control now on my diet after reading this post. Goodbye junk food. Thanks for sharing this informative post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to have you on our bandwagon heading toward achieving better health WITHOUT SACRIFICING flavor, enjoyment of quality food and healthier living. It’s worth the ride!

      Like

  12. FDA just took a step with suggestions (voluntary) for lowering sodium in processed foods… just tweeted it yesterday… hope food manufacturers use the guidelines!
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/06/04/fda-major-step-forward-targeting-excess-sodium-processed-foods/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see the government recognizes the dangers of uncontrolled salt intake, but, in reality, is the bigger problem the salt in processed foods or the processed foods themselves?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point! They must think their effort is is worthwhile in helping with the problem of high blood pressure, but it really is like putting a Band-Aid on a larger issue. Maybe if processed food didn’t taste as good it would go away? But then that’s what the manufacturers of artificial flavorings are for!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for those lists, it helps me figure out what NOT to buy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This list is just a sample. The best way to approach this is by looking at food labels and limiting eating out at restaurants

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I so wanted to say something “salty” about what all this salt is doing to our bodies, but thought better of it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am big fan of Celtic or Himalayan salt. I use less when I cook, and we cook a lot. You get better taste with less of it. We are luck, both of us like to cook. Recently I began rinsing the canned beans we use in chili, a small step toward actually buying and soaking our own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I mention REALISTIC modifications to diets and lifestyles. Rinsing canned beans is a great start. There is a manufacturer “Health Valley” that makes organic canned beans (no BPA lining the can) with as little as 30mg per serving. Might be an option until you decide to soak your own.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I will look for them! It has to be reasonable and attainable steps for modification or else you will be overwelmed and give up.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is why I commonly emphasize the word “realistic” in in my posts. I would rather see people make gradual changes they can maintain a lifetime than dramatic changes lasting brief periods of time.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. This is really useful. I know that most foods hide copius amounts of salt. So I do not use sugar, salt or soya even. Tomatoes has sodium. Ketchup too. But I use salt for cleaning…really useful to take away smell of fish after gutting it and before freezing or cooking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Something tells me you diet does not resemble the S.A.D. diet (Standard American Diet.)

      Like

  17. The large amounts of salt (and/or fat and/or sugar) in most processed food are distasteful to me, so I read labels carefully and only buy what has relatively little salt. (There’s a lot of variation.) Tho not much of a cook, I mostly prefer my own cooking to what stores sell. Using a small amount of a flavorful salty ingredient like feta cheese can pump up flavor w/o using lots of NaCl itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spices and “REAL FOODS” provide the flavor most people desire without adding additional ingredients that simply harm us. Your example of feta cheese is a beautiful choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. So how does one go about ridding themselves of salt and sugar addiction? It seems the worse we eat the more bad foods we crave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like any addiction, you either use discipline and abstain or find healthier options that satisfy cravings.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Salt is a subject I follow closely because there is so much misinformation out there, much of it put out by our own government so I really appreciate this post. I run low in sodium and because I usually don’t eat processed, high sodium foods and I drink tons of water, I really have to be proactive about adding salt to my diet.

    As you recommend, I use sea salt, which I mix with warm water and sometimes an iodine supplement and down like a shot a few times a week. Tastes terrible but it does drive the fatigue away and keeps my sodium levels up.

    Sodium is an essential element we all need and the government’s insistence on demonizing it I believe is causing a lot of unnecessary health issues. Again as you mention, a focus on whole foods and understanding the differences between processed (bad) and sea salt (good) needs to be part of it.

    Thanks for another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the rare entity that possesses LOW sodium levels. I am very glad to see you recognize the importance (as well as the beneficial sources) to find and supplement this essential mineral/electrolyte.
      I know I don’t have to warn you about the “accuracy” of information we obtain from our regulatory agencies.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Love your blog…so happy to have found it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After viewing a sample from your blog, I am glad to have found an ally to joint “forces” with to help people find a healthier way to improve the quality of their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for pointing out the dangerous “hidden sources of salt” Dr. Jonathan. As someone who loves spicy and salty food like myself, it’s a long journey to get to use to the lighter; ‘less tasty’ food but I guess it’s worth it.
    This post is also a great reminder to all that, what we put in our mouth affect our health. Thank you for your kind reminding.

    Vivienne X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. Remember, I recommend reduced salt consumption; NOT REDUCED FLAVOR AND ENJOYMENT. Spices are the secret to enhancing flavor (and adding health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation effects.) I promise you won’t miss consuming large quantities of salt.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I remember way back before Himalayan salt became popular and other types of salts, I was never one to salt foods as I prepared them. My father in-law would come over and I’d have a salt shaker just for him! Other than that I didn’t really use it other than sea salt for baking. Then about 20 years ago a relative sent some Himalayan salt and other seasoned salts from Hawaii. Now it’s the rage! Funny how things come into “style”. Which reminds me…I was joking with my daughter as we were going through my clothes and she was marveling at how cool my clothes are. She had a good laugh as I’d say that’s 15-25 years old! I guess we oldies are trend setters! Back to salt…it’s great and needed, but not at the amounts some get in their daily diet. I just love food the way it is…to me eating tomatoes as I pick them out of the garden is so good all on it’s own. I was eating a cucumber right off the vine and a neighbor asked how can you just eat it just plain like that? My reply, “because it tastes good!” Thank you for continuing to enlighten us! Be well Jonathan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Americans simply consume too much salt as they generally consume too much food (or food like substances) as well. One of our biggest problems is that we have substituted the belief that ACCOUNTABILITY conflicts with the concept of FREEDOM OF CHOICE. As a society we need to learn to put our “big girl” and “big boy” pants on and accept the responsibility that comes with being adults. Our health is OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Doctors and insurance companies are simply TOOLS to use to help provide INFORMATION. It becomes our own individual job to CHOOSE a path we believe is in our best interest. This is NOT how we are currently using the health care system!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So very true. You said it best, “OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.” The same goes for education. So many feel that once they send their kids off to school, it’s the schools problem to educate. It is to some degree, however the parents need to instill the good study habits and further teachings through examples and expectations. I home schooled mine all the while asking them if they’d like to go to a public school. Their answer was always no. Even now both adults 24-25, they have said looking back they would have done things the same. Both graduated high school at 13-14 with degrees from the state not a GED. They went on to do on-line college as I didn’t want them in a college setting at that age and now both graduated college at a private university. My point is during their schooling they were exposed to many things. They traveled to many places around the globe and really used life as their main course of study. Taking responsibility in their education and not putting it in the hands of the school system, I felt, was the best way to give my kids the very best. And thank goodness we do have the FREEDOM OF CHOICE to do so!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are a remarkable person with an amazing heart. Your children are very fortunate.

          Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow! This was very interesting. There were some things I didn’t know. Thanks for sharing! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always a pleasure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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