Salt vs. Sodium – Is There A Difference?
Yes, while salt and sodium are in the same family, there is a small difference. Sodium on its own is an element, while sodium chloride is more commonly known as table salt. When we measure the sodium in a particular food, we are measuring the amount of salt in our food.
How Much Salt Do I Need?
If you’ve ever wondered does salt makes you fat, you’ve probably also wondered how much salt is a healthy amount for your diet. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend that most of us eat no more than 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) of salt, while “at risk” populations should eat less, 2/3 teaspoons (1,500 mg) of salt each day.
At risk populations that should consume a lower than recommended sodium content include individuals over 51 years old, African-Americans and those who suffer from chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Whether or not you fall into the at risk category, chances are you need to eat less salt.
Sources of Sodium
The most obvious source of sodium in our diets is table salt, which we use to season food during and after the cooking process. Many people have asked, if it has zero calories, why does salt make you fat.
The truth is that salt, on its own does not make you fat. However much of our salt intake comes in the form of processed, prepackaged food that has additional salt added for freshness as well as flavor. Some examples include; pasta, cheese, bacon, deli meat and canned goods.
Does Salt Make You Fat?
The main reason so many people believe that salt makes you fat is that it makes you retain water, which has an annoying tendency to show up as weight gain when you step onto the scale. A high salt diet, which judging by the guidelines above we are all on, will cause more (temporary) water retention.
It is important to note that this type of weight gain is only temporary, and an adequate amount of water will return your normal electrolyte levels. This has the effect of keeping you balanced, hydrated and flushing out excess water.
Reduce Salt Intake
If you’re concerned that your salt content is stalling weight gain, consider some of these tips to reduce your salt intake to an acceptable lever;
* Add fresh or dried herbs to season food such as basil, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, parsley, cilantro or oregano.
* Use citrus juice and zest for additional flavor.
* Spices like cayenne pepper are low in sodium (1mg per teaspoon) and pack quite a flavorful punch. Includes garlic, paprika, nutmeg and curry powder just to name a few.
* Homemade broth/stock can reduce sodium intake by more than 400 mg, or 20%.
Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat
Alter your diet to include more vegetables and lean proteins and less fat and sugar. Lean proteins will help you build muscles and burn fat in your lower belly. Even if you simply cut your fat and sugar intake in half, it will make a big difference in your fight against lower belly fat.
Do at least a half hour of cardio three times a week. Walking, jogging, biking and dancing are great options. Doing cardio will help you lose that extra layer of fat that keeps your abdominal muscles hidden.
Work your lower ab muscles to strengthen the muscle wall and burn belly fat. Do a few reps of scissors after your cardio exercise. Lie on your back with your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your legs about a foot off the ground. Contract your lower ab muscles, and move your legs in a crisscross motion: move your right leg over the left, then open your legs apart and move your left leg over the right. Be careful not to bend your knees. Do about 10 to 15 reps.
Do a few reps of double leg reverse crunches. Lie on your back with your hands behind your buttocks as in Step 3. Raise your legs off the ground and bend your knees. With your knees bent, slowly lower your feet until they’re three inches off the ground, and hold this position for a few seconds then return to starting position. Do about 10 to 15 reps.
Complete your lower belly workout with a set of the Pilates 100. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift your legs straight at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your arms straight, lift them a few inches off the floor. Contract your abs and lift your shoulders a few inches off the ground. Maintain this position and start pumping your hands up and down as you count to 100.
Melt fat fast.
Some examples of “healthy food” words on product labels:
No Added Sugar
We are supposed to believe that each of these categories makes a food healthier. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here is what those “healthy food” phrases actually translate to:
Fat free, but full of sugar and chemicals.
Reduced fat, but increased carbohydrates.
Low fat, but high glycemic index.
Sugar free, but artificial everything else.
No added sugar, because the all natural version has enough sugar to give you type II diabetes anyway.
“Diet” food, but it causes cancer in lab rats so don’t drink/eat too much of it.
1. Diet Soda
Why is it good? A sugar free version of the popular carbonated beverage that you can drink on the go.
Why is it bad? OK, so soda is horrible for you, but take out the sugar and add in carcinogenic artificial sweeteners, combined with the artificial flavors and colors that are in all sodas, and you have a recipe for a Tumor in a Can.
Then of course you’ve got the caffeine factor, which is linked to hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and can mess with your blood sugar. Unfortunately the caffeine is an oh-so-good afternoon supplement.
Instead choose: filtered water and the occasional glass of milk
2. Sushi made with white rice and imitation crab meat or vegetables
Why is it good? Seaweed contains essential nutrients such as selenium, calcium, iodine, and omega-3 fats. Sushi is nearly always wrapped in seaweed.
Why is it bad? This garbage doesn’t deserve to be called sushi. They are just small, compact, high glycemic, high calorie, carbohydrate nuggets. There’s not even much protein in these things. Eat 3-4 of them and you’ve had your serving for the day.
Aside from that, imitation crab meat isn’t even good for you. It is mostly just a crab flavored tofu-like substance fortified with sugar, sugar, and more sugar. It isn’t tofu, it’s actually a bunch of processed white fish, but it tastes like tofu. Blah!
Instead choose: In order to get some healthy carbs, some high-quality protein, and the benefits of omega-3 fats, choose real sushi made with salmon or tuna. To make it even healthier, order sashimi instead of white rice.
Why is it good? Peanuts contain healthy fats that contribute to the reduction in triglycerides, which are known to promote cardiovascular disease. In addition to monosaturated fatty acids, peanuts also contain magnesium, vitamin E, arginine, fiber, copper and folate all of which help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Why is it bad? Aside from being high in fat and calories, peanuts also are loaded with omega-6 fats that distort the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This ratio says that your intake of each omega fatty acid should be 1:1. The reasons why this ratio is recommended is a topic for a whole other article.
All we need to know is that the American diet is typically from 20:1 to 50:1 in favor of omega-6, so any effort to reverse this trend is important for combating over 10 different common diseases including Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Peanuts are often contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, and they are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.
Instead choose: almonds or all natural organic peanut butter, but pour off the top layer of oil and replace with olive oil if the resulting peanut brick is too stiff. Olive oil is very low in omega-6 fats.
(But honestly, if you want the peanuts you should just eat them. They’re not that bad for you diet-wise.)
4. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
Why is it good? All peanut butter provides a heart-healthy substantial quantity of monounsaturated fat.
Why is it bad? Most commercial peanut butters are made with the same type of sugar that cake frosting is made with. Reducing the fat makes it even worse because even MORE nasty sugar is added and they contain less healthy fat. I’d rather just eat the extra calories.
Instead choose: As with peanuts, choose almonds or all natural organic peanut butter instead. Just remember to pour off the top layer of oil and replace it with olive oil if the resulting peanut brick is too stiff. Olive oil is very low in omega-6 fats.
5. Corn Oil
Why is it good? It contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats that don’t raise cholesterol. Sweet.
Why is it bad? In the true spirit of peanuts, corn oil has 60 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. Omega-6 fatty acids increase inflammation, which boosts your risk of cancer, arthritis, and obesity. This is why we prefer a balanced ratio of omega-3s, which are found in walnuts, fish, and flaxseed.
Instead choose: Canola or Olive oils, which have a far better ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. In my humble opinion, choose olive oil instead since canola oil has some less important issues of its own.
6. Fat-Free or Reduced Fat Salad Dressing
Why is it good? Less fat means less calories. Plus that salad dressing fat is lard just like mayo and crisco. Sick.
Why is it bad? Firstly because when fat comes out, sugar goes in. Either that or artificial flavors and sweeteners.
Secondly, since many vegetables are fat soluble, taking away the fat from the dressing means fewer of the salad nutrients will be absorbed into your body.
This was confirmed by a study at Ohio State University wherein a higher fat salad dressing resulted in an increased uptake of the antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene.
Instead choose: A salad dressing made with olive oil, or just use olive oil and vinegar as your salad dressing. If you try it you might like it.
7. Anything made with Soy
Why is it good? It’s not. But in the spirit of argument: vegetarians and vegans eat the stuff so they can get protein in their diets. Plus the stuff is apparently low in fat and an alternative to whey for the lactose intolerant.
Why is it bad? Straight up, soy is thought to be linked to increased estrogen in males and increased breast cancer in women. The estrogenic effects are sometimes said to merely be the presence of the phytoestrogens and estrogen mimicking compounds found in soy.
Because of these estrogenic compounds, infants in particular can be adversely affected in many negative ways from exposure to soy, including premature development in girls, and underdevelopment in boys.
Soy also promotes hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and infertility just to name a few additional disorders. Phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines are all highly present in soy products.
Some people are allergic to soy protein.
Instead choose: any high protein whole food such as brown rice, goats milk, coconut milk, almond milk, whole grains, nuts, seaweeds, seeds, beans, and lentils.
If you must have a protein powder, choose any of a variety of protein powders available on the market today, including whey and egg protein.
As a side note, goats milk is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet today, so give it a try.
8. Yogurt cups, especially those with fruit at the bottom
Why is it good? Individually, fruit and yogurt are two of the healthiest food choices at the grocery store.
Why is it bad? Manufacturers load these products up with corn syrup, which effectively doubles the amount of sugar. All the better to entice kids to ask you to buy this crap.
Instead choose: Activia yogurt, which contains additional live active cultures to help your digestive system. Choose the Light version if you wish, but it is sweetened with sucralose (Splenda).
9-11. Fruit Juice, Dried Fruit, and Fruit Cocktail
Why is it good? Well because fruit is good for you. It has a ton of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; not to mention fiber.
Why is it bad? Fruit juice and fruit cocktail normally have sugar added. Some fruit cocktails come in a thick sugary syrup, and there’s more sugar in a glass of fruit juice than in a candy bar and as much as in a glass of soda (grape juice has about 40g of sugar in one serving). You get no fiber from fruit juice, and the stuff usually has preservatives added to it.
Dried fruit is similarly bad because it is also loaded with sugar, although not with added sugar. Think of it this way: take any fruit, which is naturally loaded with sugar, remove all the moisture thus shrinking it down to a fraction of its normal size, then sell it by the bucket load to consumers who don’t understand that this little tiny piece of fruit still has nearly all the calories and sugar of the original fruit!
Can anyone say “portion control”? What about “blood sugar coma”?
Instead choose: eat the whole fruit including the skin if possible, but limit it to one serving of fruit per meal/snack to avoid insulin spikes. If you must have fruit cocktail, choose one that comes packed in its own juices instead of syrup.
12. Smartfood (Cheesy Popcorn)
Why is it good? Because cheesy popcorn is oh so tasty.
Why is it bad? Because you are really just eating the popcorn equivalent of potato chips. Seriously, compare total calories and you will find that you are not saving much on the calorie front by eating Smartfood instead of chips.
Instead choose: get some spray butter, pop some plain popcorn, spray a light coat of spray butter on the popped corn, sprinkle various spices on the corn (but go easy on the salts), and shake it up in a bag. Now you have a low fat tasty treat.
Smartfood isn’t as bad as a candy bar or a Twinkie though, so go ahead and splurge every so often.
13. Beans packed in sugary syrups such as Boston Baked Beans
Why is it good? Baked beans are good for you because these types of beans are loaded with fiber
Why is it bad? The sugary syrup, just as much as in a can of soda, is just going to spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. This is never good for preventing heart disease or type II onset diabetes.
Instead choose: Red kidney beans. These things are packed with protein and fiber, and can be mixed with any sort of salad or pasta. Sometimes I enjoy kidney beans straight out of the can; no cooking, just wash and chow.
There are also several other kinds of high protein, high fiber beans, but they typically have to be cooked first. I say this because I tend to be lazy about cooking and I know you do too. Try cooking up some nice black beans; high in protein and fiber, low in everything bad.
14-20. Granola, White Pasta, Pasta Salad, English Muffins, Bagels, Croutons, and Pretzels
Why is it good? Granola has some fiber, pasta salad has some vegetables, croutons make our salad crunchy, english muffins are one step up from bagels, and pretzels are a quick low-fat snack.
Why is it bad? One word: carbohydrates. All of these foods are made with corn syrup and/or processed white flour. These foods will spike your blood sugar faster than Bruce Lee could have kicked you in the face. You also won’t get much nutrition in the way of protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals from any of these foods.
Instead choose: 100% whole grain or whole wheat pasta and English muffins for increased fiber and protein. Egg salad because, like it or not, eggs are good for you and are high in protein. Almond slices are high in omega-3 fats and are crunchy like croutons. Substitute healthy nuts for white starches whenever you can and you too can receive a 30% less chance of heart disease.
Bad Fat Good Fat Food Fat List
Food fat is no longer just about being “fattening.” Although there’s still plenty of bad fat good fat food fat confusion, scientists now realize that there are some extremely healthy good fats as well as extremely unhealthy bad fats. And some of the good fats can even help you lose weight.
If you’re having trouble digesting some of the bad fat good fat food fat details, you’re certainly not alone. And it’s understandable why.After all, too much saturated fat or any trans fat in your diet is clearly a disaster waiting to happen. On the other hand, the essential fatty acids are “essential” for optimum physical, mental and emotional health. To clear up the confusion, here’s your bad fat good fat food fat list of fat facts.
Trans fatty acids are the real bad fat boys. Since trans fats have been shown to raise artery-clogging LDL (bad) cholesterol and cause breast cancer, they should be totally eliminated from your diet.
Trans fat is created when processed vegetable oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Food sources include candy, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, crackers, biscuits, cereals, deep fried foods, fatty meat from beef and sheep, soups, margarine and some salad dressings.
Saturated fats should make up no more than about 10% of your calorie intake. Even though saturated fats add flavor to food and can be beneficial in small amounts, in large quantities saturated fat has been shown to clog arteries and cause other cardiovascular health problems.
Saturated fats are mainly in animal foods, such as beef, pork, lamb, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream and other full-fat and low-fat dairy products. It’s also found in tropical palm and coconut oils.
Polyunsaturated oils are the source of essential fatty acids. They used to be ranked highest on the food fat list. But now that food fat is better understood, polyunsaturated fats are known to be a mixed bag.
The reason is clear. Most people get way too much non-nutritious polyunsaturated omega 6 fat in the form of highly refined vegetable oils. This throws off their optimum balance of omega 3 to omega 6 oils.
It’s best to use monosaturated olive oil for salads and cooking and get your essential fatty acids from whole food sources. These include 100% whole wheat, brown rice and other whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, especially soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts.
Monounsaturated fat helps protect against heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL (good cholesterol). The best source is extra virgin olive oil. Other good sources include olives, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, avocados and pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Omega 3 with EPA and DHA is considered to be in a class by itself – even though it’s technically polyunsaturated. This is because of the exceptional omega 3 EPA and DHA health benefits, which include reducing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some kinds of cancers, arthritis, depression and protection against many other painful and serious diseases.
The best sources of omega 3 with EPA and DHA are salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, anchovies and good quality omega 3 fish oil capsules. (Note: plant sources of omega 3 do NOT have EPA and DHA.)
Remember that all fats, bad or good, have 9 calories per gram. So even though omega 3 fish oil and olive oil are great for your heart and bacon fat is terrible, each fat gram adds the same amount of calories.