Have you ever got up in the morning after eating out the night before only to find that you have gained a few pounds? Has your face ever looked “puffy” the next morning? Are your lips unusually parched and dry? Have you ever tried to put a ring on your finger in the morning and it won’t fit? Chances are that this puffiness is due to fluid retention caused by the table salt in your meal the night before. Your body simply can’t handle the volume of “hidden salt” in your food.
Many people say to us “That’s not my problem. I don’t eat salt.” But that is not true if you eat in restaurants or eat canned, packaged or frozen foods. Salt is used in the preparation of all food in restaurants including the salting of meats before cooking. It is difficult for most to imagine the amount of table salt used by a restaurant on a daily, weekly and annual basis.
Many people add more table salt when their meal arrives at the table. There are even people who put table salt on almost every thing they eat. We’ve all seen them. They’re the ones who reach for the salt the moment their plate is put in front of them. They don’t even wait to taste the food first to see if it needs more salt. They simply have to have it.
Sauces, soups and salad dressings use table salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG) combined for flavor and as a preservative, essentially doubling your intake of salt without your knowledge. The same holds true for countless packaged and processed foods.
There may also be other salts added, such as sodium nitrate found in processed meats and maltodextrin which contains up to 14% of MSG. Multiply this by the number of different foods on the plate and the salt total increases again. No one knows exactly how much salt they consume because so much of it is hidden in all the different ingredients in packaged foods.
On top of that, if you add table salt to your meal the amount of salt can triple. Or worse, If you eat out two, or sometimes three times a day when you are busy, the amount of table salt in your meals increases exponentially. This is one explanation for the swelling or puffiness that many experience on some mornings and not others.
Humans need only a small amount of sodium. But salt is essential to maintaining the body’s homeostasis and normal pH factor. The sodium found in organic fruits and vegetables is mixed with other organic molecules causing their natural sodium to be absorbed slowly. In contrast, table salt is unbuffered and enters quickly through the stomach lining. One ounce of table salt causes the body to hold six pounds of excess water – a sure cause of weight gain that causes other harm to the human body.
When a surplus of table salt enters the bloodstream, the body is forced to store the salt between the cells until the kidneys can filter it. The continuous disruption of the cell’s fluid balance can calcify, scar and destroy the muscles, valves and arteries of your entire coronary system culminating in congestive heart failure and cardiovascular disease. Cardiologists and Internists warn patients about of the dangers of accumulated salt in their arteries, organs and muscles, including the obvious heart disease issues.
If you eat salty foods containing refined salt for a long period of time, the body becomes dependent, much like caffeine, heroin and nicotine. We have met a number of people who admit and sometimes brag about their addiction to salt.
Reducing refined salt intake can create physical withdrawal. Surprising to many, large quantities of salt can be lethal. Historically, a traditional method of suicide in China was drinking water saturated with table salt.
When coupled with other salts such as sodium nitrate, MSG and maltodextrin, your kidneys become overloaded. The increased levels of the various forms of refined salts slow your kidney function at the same time your kidneys are barraged with high fructose corn syrup and the pesticide residues of genetically modified foods.
The increased daily burden disrupts your kidneys further. Even minor disruptions in your kidney functions play a role in weight gain and obesity. Unless you are on a salt-free organic diet, there is no way of calculating your daily intake of salt and the damage it causes.
MSG and other excitotoxins in their salt-form interfere with the body’s sodium pump, thus allowing excess sodium, and consequently water, into the brain cells. Large amounts of these salts act adversely on the cells. The brain’s calcium level becomes too compromised and instantly causes certain brain cells to swell and die. Low doses of MSG and other excitotoxins found in processed and packaged foods kill cells by a slower but equally deadly method. Initially all will appear fine, but about two hours later certain cells will swell and die.
According to reports presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 2010 annual meeting, individuals who consume a diet high in sodium are more likely to experience a decline in kidney function. The authors found that “in women with well-preserved kidney function, higher dietary sodium intake was associated with greater kidney function decline, which is consistent with experimental animal data that high sodium intake promotes progressive kidney decline.”
This is a major contributor to the increase in kidney disease and kidney transplants. The number of people on kidney dialysis and receiving organ transplants has increased dramatically since the increase in refined salt, MSG, Maltodextrin, Sodium Nitrate and other dangerous chemicals that have been added to our food chain since the early 1990s.
Evidence shows that sodium nitrate alone has caused a 67% increase in pancreatic cancer, a 74% higher risk of leukemia and a 40% higher risk of diabetes.
A new 2010 study published in the journal Circulation reveals that eating processed meat products with high levels of sodium nitrate significantly raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The report analyzed 20 different studies involving more than 1.2 million people from 10 countries. It found that eating just two ounces of processed meat each day resulted in a 42% increase in the risk of heart disease and a19% increase in the risk of diabetes.
For every1.8-ounce serving, the risk for heart disease jumped 42% and the risk for diabetes increased 19%. That equates to one bite of a hot dog at a sporting event or two bites out of a processed meat sandwich in a deli, roach coach or convenience store.
Studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund confirm that sodium nitrate in processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer. The studies found that the high consumption of processed meats led to elevated risks for colorectal, lung, esophageal and liver cancers, along with borderline higher risks for advanced prostate and bladder cancer. Much of the blame has been placed on the effects of sodium nitrate.
In the 1970s, the USDA tried to ban sodium nitrite from food, but was overruled by the political might of the meat industry which relies upon sodium nitrate to make packaged meat look visually more appealing. According to meat packers, it is necessary to treat meats with sodium nitrate to keep them looking fresh until sold. The industry is afraid that people will not buy meat if it looks gray in color.
The American public remains largely in ignorance because there are no disclosures or warnings on food labels about the accurate amount of salt contained in food items. For example, the listing of salt on the “Ingredients Label” on packaged foods does not include the salt in MSG or Maltodextrin. Restaurants and fast food stores failed to offer this information until new laws were enacted. Only time will tell if the new laws will be effective in disclosing all of the salt content. We think they will still “fudge” on the labels and disclosures any way they can.
This is the primary reason why table salt is so hazardous for people with any form of cardiovascular disease, kidney, liver or weight problems. Yet despite all of the medical warnings about salt consumption, many nutritionists and doctors remain silent on the health differences between table salt and organic salt. Our books and other blogs distinguish between organic salt and refined salt at length.
The silence and the deceptive labeling tricks of the food industry endangers your health and the health of all Americans. Read labels, do your own research and beware of food manufacturer claims.