One of my personal training clients lost over 35 lbs last year following one simple rule: Don’t eat more than 1,500mg of sodium per day. When you reduce the sodium in your diet to no more than 1,500mg a day it becomes real difficult to gain weight. All the processed foods that are most likely making you fat are loaded with sodium. The average American consumes 3,400mg of sodium per day while the daily recommended maximum is only 2,400mg. But when my client went to his doctor for help with his blood pressure and weight problem, his physician told him to eat less that 1,500mg of sodium per day to lose weight and lower his blood pressure. I’ve been advocating the health benefits of a low-sodium diet to my clients for years and was very happy when my client’s doctor prescribed it as well. Sometimes the suggestion has to come from a doctor for someone to listen.
The benefits of reducing the sodium in your diet have gotten some headlines this year. The New York Times just published an article called: After Smoking and Fats, Focus Turns to Salt. The article pointed out a ½ teaspoon reduction in salt could reduce the number of new cases of coronary heart disease by 60,000 to 1,200,000 per year.
How to Reduce the Sodium and Lose Weight:
- Stop eating processed foods. Processed foods are loaded with salt. For example, a frozen pizza can have over 2,400mg of sodium. A stack of 4 pancakes (box mix) can have over 1,000mg of sodium, as well.
- Start reading labels and looking at the sodium content in foods. You will be very surprised how much sodium is in the popular foods you’re eating every day. Keep in mind any food with a long shelf life like canned foods will most likely be loaded with sodium.
- When cooking, cut the recommended salt in recipes in half. In a short period of time you won’t even test the difference.
- Look for salt-free seasonings like Dash and take the saltshaker off the table.
- Make whole natural foods the corner stone of your diet. You have to start eating fresh foods. If the foods you’re eating are fresh and whole they will be low in sodium.
I know it’s not easy reducing the sodium in your diet at first. But stick with it; in no time you will be thinner and healthier. I’ve been eating a low sodium diet for years and have reached a point where I can detect the salt in foods easily. I have lost my taste for salt and find it overpowering in foods that I don’t cook myself. I can’t eat processed foods anymore because all I can taste is the salt. Once you start detecting the salt in foods you will know you’re not eating too much.
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Best – Mike Cola