Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Salt, sugar, and your diet.

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, “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 “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!


  1. Fantastic post!! I don't add salt to anything and I make my own meals, nothing packaged. Sugar was a hard one for me. I was really addicted to the highs and needed more and more to keep from crashing. I felt hungry all the time because I was eating sugar instead of meals. Oh jeez! When I got off the sugar rollercoaster, the cravings completely went away. I didn't need sugar because I hadn't crashed from sugar. Ironically, I just finished writing a vampire novel and it's based on the sugar crash scenario to explain vampirism. Hee hee Love your blog!

  2. Okay, your book sounds amazing. I want to read it. Where have you been all my life?! hahaha :)

  3. I am feeling sooo much better since ditching all the sweet stuff. I used to be totally addicted to chocolate. I mean, it was bad. I had to have a lot of it, every day... multiple.. times.. a day. The end result is not pretty, and it's part of why I am so screwed & need to lose so much weight.

    I really thought it would be impossible to quit eating sugary foods. It's not. I feel so much better now! My boyfriend bought donuts today and I did have one, but felt sick right after. Even got a slight headache! It's crazy what the donut did to me. I am sad to admit that I had one but I just couldn't wait any longer to eat something.. went out to an appointment and I was gone for 4 hours, which was 2 hours longer than anticipated. Ugh. Definitely going to start bringing fruits with me on trips!

  4. What about stevia/Truvia? All I know about it is that it's new, it's not sugar but it's all natural and it's not dangerous like the fake crap.

  5. I can maybe do a follow up with healthier options and include that, good call!

  6. I don't know if it's any better than regular sugar...that's my actual question and I forgot to put it in my first comment lol!

  7. It seems to be okay, but I didn't research it all that much. I read way more benefits than I did side effects, though!

  8. I will do an article on it for you soon. I am still working on an article with ideas for people recovering from lower body injuries who want to get cardio into their workouts. That one is proving to be a bit more difficult!

  9. I need to make my dad read this article! He adds salt to everything and since my lectures aren't doing the trick, I think he needs other sources. I haven't refilled my salt shaker EVER. I omit it from every recipe that calls for it and have honestly never added it to anything on my plate; its more for guests. lol

  10. :) I would love for your dad to read the article, it's something everyone should know about, for sure! Thanks in advance for telling him to check it out! Anyway, I always knew salt was horrible for us, but never quite knew or understood how awful until I researched for this.

    We have always had salt in our house but I really never liked it on anything but macaroni & cheese, so it's been really easy to just forget about. I only wish it were as easy to control the sodium content in food without cooking everything from scratch, especially on the budget I have to work with. I am not the best cook and don't even know where to start as far as that is concerned. Oh well, baby steps!


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