TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE SODIUM…WHICH IS IT?

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A response to “Study questions sodium intake guidelines”

According to the Canadian Press, November 23rd, 2013:

“Excess sodium consumption has been linked to higher rates of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, but a new study suggests having too little dietary salt may also be detrimental, at least in people already at risk for cardiovascular disease.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/study-questions-sodium-intake-guidelines-1.730101#ixzz2iOP1qApn

This doesn’t surprise me. Is it true that we are having too much salt? Most likely. The average Canadian is consuming 3400 mg of sodium per day vs. the recommended upper limit of 2300 mg. But is having too little just as problematic? Most definitely.

Sodium, in conjunction with potassium, is critical in maintaining proper blood pressure and heart function. They play off each other like a scale, balancing each other to keep our heart functioning properly. If there is too much of one, or conversely too little of the other, than that fine balance in thrown off, and that’s when we begin to see complications. In the context of this article and study, it was seen that those who had complications from having low sodium intake, under the low end of the recommended 1500 mg per day occurred in people who were already UNWELL (i.e. existing cardiovascular disease).

The picture (and risk!) painted for healthy people in the general population are a different one. Studies have shown that in healthy people, lowering our salt intake shows improvements on cardiovascular health.  Most of this salt (77% of it) is coming from processed foods and foods we eat out; which in my opinion is the real problem. The danger here is not only high salt intake, but the other nutritional implications of eating out often. Packaged and restaurant foods generally tend to be higher in saturated (bad) fat, as well as tend to be served in larger portions (for example at restaurants), which causes to overeat! These 3 effects of higher sodium, fat, and overall higher portion intake is something we can treat in one fell swoop by eating from home more often and choosing more plant-based foods.

So if you are in good health, should you worry about not having enough sodium? Probably not, in fact; I’d say take that with a grain of salt 😉

 

Meet Alessandra, Cappino’s expert nutritionist.

 

Dietitian Alessandra BarbaRegistered dietitian and member of l’ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (l’OPDQ), Alessandra has a passion for nutrition, healthy living, and helping people achieve their personal goals. She is a graduate from McGill University who excelled academically and was nominated by her peers to represent her graduating class as valedictorian. Alessandra has a multitude of experience with different clinical specialities, including weight loss, geriatrics, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sports nutrition, among others. She understands that a good rapport with open communication between a dietitian and her client is a crucial factor for success, and her enthusiasm for her work is contagious. To book an appointment with Alessandra click here.

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