If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s an easy solution: take all the table salt in your house and instead of throwing it out, use it for cleaning! I wish that was all we had to do in order to lose weight, but sadly, that's only one small step you can make towards meeting your weight goals. In addition to avoiding excess salt & sodium, you need to exercise. We all know that. You also need to avoid sugary foods. I know this sounds like common sense and everyone knows these things to be true, but do you really know WHY?
Let’s start with salt.
Your body needs sodium to balance fluid in your body, it also has influence on your muscles. Salt and sodium are not the same thing, though. According to the saltinstitute.org, “One level U.S. teaspoonful of granulated evaporated salt contains approximately 6,200 mg sodium chloride, or approximately 2,400 mg sodium.” Salt can have a negative impact on your diet & your health if you consume more than your body needs.
If you consume salt, your body retains water, which leads to weight gain. Not only that, but salt elevates blood pressure, which causes your metabolism to slow down. If, over years, you regularly consume excess salt, your risk for heart disease and stroke skyrockets. Salt has also been linked to kidney problems and stomach cancer.
Taken from http://www.chewonthis.org.uk/fat_salt_sugar/salt_home.htm: “Most food labels tell you how much salt is in your food, but they call it sodium. Sodium is just a part of salt, so you have to multiply the number by 2.5. And then you have to multiply it by the amount of food you're going to eat... all to find out how much salt you're eating!” SCARY!
Since salt is used as a preservative, it is found in a lot of processed foods. The best way to avoid salt & sodium in excess is to prepare everything yourself from scratch. If that’s too difficult for you, there are a few key words you can search for instead: "sodium free," "very low sodium," "unsalted," "no salt added," etc. Any word combination that says there is a lower amount of sodium or no salt added is a good thing to look for, but read the label and double check. Remember, we’re only supposed to consume 2000 mg of salt a say or less, and a teaspoon of table salt has over 2300 mgs!
Why is sugar so bad for me?
Sugar does a lot of the same things to your body as salt. Just like salt, sugar causes people to retain water. Retaining water leads to weight gain, which slows your metabolism down & can lead to even more weight gain. It also can eventually lead to heart problems, stroke, & diabetes.
There’s a really interesting website I stumbled onto with 111 reasons sugar should be avoided. Here’s the link: Health Risks of Sugar. I am going to copy & paste some of the health risks from that website and elaborate on a few of them a bit.
“Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.”
“Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA.”
Um, This is even scarier than some of the other reasons listed above. I did some research and found this quote from this article: “Eating a single chocolate bar might cause harmful genetic changes or mutations that could have serious effects on your DNA, changes that could last for up to a couple of weeks.” Read the article here.
“Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.”
I found a wonderful link that breaks this down a lot better than I ever could, so I offer it to you now.
There are many more things listed on the website itself so I would definitely suggest reading and doing your own research. But those are some pretty scary truths, don’t you think? Does this mean you should avoid sugar entirely? No, everything is okay in moderation. And please, don’t think that this means it’s okay to start using artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose. Those are WORSE.
I also want to take a minute to discuss high fructose corn syrup, aka corn sugar. High fructose corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn. For more on genetically modified foods, please also visit Going Green For Kellan. It’s the most commonly used sweetener & it’s in almost everything that we eat! What does it do to your body? Well, it definitely can lead to excessive weight gain, liver damage, bad cholesterol, more cavities, an increase in heart attack risk, and guess what else? MERCURY EXPOSURE! Doesn't sound so appealing now, does it? I highly suggest ditching whatever you can from your cupboards that has HFCS in it. If you can't afford to do that, make sure that once you run out of products that use HFCS, you do not replace them with more HFCS products.
In short, be really careful what you eat. READ LABELS! If you don’t understand something, do research online or at the library and find out as much as you can about EVERYTHING that enters your body!