Thursday, August 13, 2009
Addicted to salt?
Most of us wouldn't think so - we usually say we are addicted to sugar, caffeine or some other kind of substance.
I believe that salt is one of the most addictive and dangerous substances. Can you eat cooked vegetables without salt? Most people can't. What about soups? They are very bland and need salt. The same with pastas and rice.
Excellent info about salt (I pasted article below the link, to see footnotes, click on the link):
Eating Too Much Salt?
Want to find out if you're eating too much salt?
If you're consuming any table salt, whether is be sea salt, rock salt, or something fancy with a name like raw Himalayan salt, you're eating too much, and science is pretty clear that the habit will harm you.
Our culture shovels down salt in such huge quantities that we hardly stop to question the habit, but think about it in terms of sea water. Everyone knows that if you're stranded on a desert island, you can be surrounded by an ocean of water that's useless because you'll die if you try to drink it.
What do you die of when you drink it? Dehydration. Ponder this for a moment. Salt has such a dehydrating effect that you can drink a gallon of water laced with it and still die of dehydration.
Our bodies clearly reject salt. Put salt in an open wound and it will burn painfully. Drink salt water and you'll throw it up. Put salt on a slug, which lacks protective skin, and its body will "melt" from dehydration because it uses the water in its body in an attempt to dilute the burning substance.
Salt is such an effective killer that it was once used as a form of suicide by the Chinese (1).
We Can Have Too Much Salt, But We Need Saline
The body needs saline to function, but we must make a distinction between extracted sodium chloride salt, which is an irritant, toxic, and deadly (1) if consumed in high quantities, and the sodium and other salts that occur naturally in whole plant foods.
The later is a nutrient important to every cell in the body, and eating celery, tomatoes, and other vegetables gives us the organic salts and other minerals out bodies need in just the right amounts and combinations.
Cells rely on a regulated ratio of extracellular sodium and intracellular potassium, and when this is thrown out of whack it seriously compromises bodily functions.
There are plenty of expensive salts out there. Some is mined from the dead sea or the Himalayas. Raw food gurus hawk the stuff to make a quick buck, but the nutritional claims they make about it are false.
They'll tell you that you need extracted minerals to meet the deficiencies of modern life. We need many minerals, but we need them in the quantities and the form in which they occur naturally in whole food so they are a benefit and not a burden to our system. This is similar to how we need vitamins, but they're harmful to us when extracted in pill form.
Too Much Salt Will Damage Your Health
There are so many reasons not to eat extracted salt that its overwhelming. For one, you only need to eat about 1 g per kg of body weight to kill yourself with it (1).
For a 220 pound man (100 kg) that would be 100 grams, which is just shy of four ounces. We average 9 grams a day in the U.S., so the average American eats 1/10th of a lethal dosage for a large man every day.
But even at non-lethal doses, it's still not good for us.
Conservative health organizations like the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization tell us we're harming ourselves by eating so much.
We know that sodium consumption raises blood pressure (2), causes stomach cancer (3) and reduces bone density and contributes to osteoporosis (4).
In most people the consumption of salt leads to water retention because the body needs the water to render the salt inert until it can be expelled. It's not unusual for a person to be carrying around five pounds or more of extra water weight.
Too Much Salt: Get Free
Most people eat way too much salt in the wrong form, and there are many benefits of giving it up.
Besides the fact that you're likely to live longer, your food will taste better. People often pour on salt because they think food is tasteless, but that's only because their taste buds have adjusted to the huge amounts of salt and spices they eat.
Cut out salt, and inside two months you'll be noticing delicious new complexities in your food.
I can't tell you how much I love the flavors in my favorite salad dressing. When your taste buds adjust, you can notice the natural saline in things like tomatoes and celery, and the experience is like an explosion of flavor.
Cutting out salt will usually lead to the quick loss of water weight, which your body stores to keep the salt inert until it can be expelled.