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Are you consuming too much salt?

The American Heart Association recommends that people limit salt consumption to no more than a teaspoon each day

Most of us count calories or at least think about the amount of calories we consume.

We know most things about carbohydrate intake, burning fat and how much protein to digest daily, but the weight is still not falling off.

One important factor that can contribute to or take away from the success of long-term weight loss amounts to a four-letter word – salt. Are you consuming enough, or getting too much?

Firstly sodium is necessary for your body, only not too much or too little of it. If you did not get any sodium at all you would not survive. If you digest too much sodium, your body will retain too much water, which could possibly jeopardise your weight loss efforts.

It is recommended by the American Heart Association that we should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day – the equivalent of a level teaspoon of salt. Have you checked the sodium level on any packaged items in your cabinets? Look closely, because items that may be low in calories make up for it in carbs and sodium. It’s possible that there could be a daily serving of sodium in only one processed food snack, so watch out.

Salt retains water. It can often be the main issue when it comes to weight gain and can cause dehydration. It can also contribute to high blood pressure. When your sodium levels are high and you are working hard to reduce your waistline, salt will stop water from doing its job; instead of being flushed from your body it will be retained, thus causing bloat and water weight. So, instead of working with your metabolism to burn calories and fat effectively, it actually will work against you and all your hard work at the gym will seem like a waste of time.

Check out some of the ways below to have a sodium-healthy diet:

• Throw out the junk

Processed foods are always full of sodium; they would not stay fresh without all of the salt and artificial ingredients. It will take some getting used to, but once you switch processed foods for natural ones, you will realise that you never felt better – in both body and mind. If you still feel the need for a packaged snack buy a single package so there are no leftovers.

• If you eat nuts, make sure they are not salted

Salted nuts that are prepackaged are not great at all. Instead, keep raw almonds or unsalted peanuts at home to snack on.

• Skip the salty snacks

If you are addicted to salty snacks, ease off them slowly. Excessive salt can be addictive. If you are used to sprinkling salt on top of your food, try switching to a light salt, or adding your favourite salt-free spice. With a gradual change, it won’t feel as drastic.

• Prepare meals at home

When meals are home-made, you know what goes into them. Try to cook your own. Most foods prepared in restaurants usually contain high amounts of sodium.

• Go easy on the salted condiments

Avoid consuming condiments that contain high amounts of sodium such as soy sauce, salad dressing and ketchup. You can purchase salt-free condiments that season almost as well as salt.

• Rinse

Run a bit of water through canned foods before you eat them.

• Read

Pay attention to the labels on all of your food so that you know the amount of sodium they contain.

Salt can be a blessing or a curse for your weight loss. Start now by being mindful of how much salt you are consuming daily. Gradually lower your sodium, get creative with your eating habits and B-Active For Life!

Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook

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Published March 22, 2023 at 7:19 am (Updated March 22, 2023 at 5:33 am)

Are you consuming too much salt?

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