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A Note on America's Habit of Craving Salt

Posted Feb 04 2011 8:17am


If there's anything that one can generalize about the United States in general, is the fact that they are extremely conscious of their health. The hue and cry about the state of health insurance should have given you clear insight into the reason why this aspect is taken so seriously.

And when you look at other countries, there is no doubt that their approach to matters in regards to health is a bit more toned down or at least still in a stage where it doesn't come across as a national crisis of sorts.

But when you think of it, all this fuss is due to the fact that the food that Americans eat is anything but healthy. It's true!

And one area in which several studies has proved this is with the amount of salt that is present in the food choices that we make on a daily basis.

Salt in your Food: How much is enough?

There's no doubt that there's a need for salt for in our food. But how much is too much?

That's the question that most people have been trying to answer in a while now, and since there have been several studies that have tried to find the answer to this question, a couple of them have really stood out over the past few years.

In one report in 2009, Sonia Angell and Dr. Frieden, said that Americans ate way too much salt amounting to 3400 to 3500 mg of salt everyday. And this is almost two times the amount that is required on a daily basis, that figure being about 1500 mg per day.

At that time, both these experts were recommending actions such as taking concrete steps in lowering the amount of sodium in the food served at restaurants as well as the packaged (read: processed) foods that are available in your local supermarket.

And the time line for this is to reduce the salt level by 25 percent in five years' time, while pushing for another 25 percent in the next five years. Of course, if companies and restaurants do not comply, legislation will be the next course of action.

And this is the first study that was conducted in New York City alone!

Another study released last year that was conducted by government researchers said that nine out of ten Americans eat almost twice the amount of salt in comparison to the daily recommended limit, and restaurants and processed foods (in your supermarket) have to be blamed for this.

Excess salt: Where's that damn salt-shaker again?

So, the question really here is: if you eat too much salt, will one crave more salt in their food if the sodium levels are dropped?

Of course, if one takes the example of cigarette smoking, kicking the habit is tough because the body has already begun to need 'nicotine', and while people are advocating the move to ensure that the cigarette companies to drop the levels of nicotine in every cigarette below 'addictive levels', one can only imagine what this will do to cigarette smokers.

The honest truth is that we don't know how the body will react to this kind of drop in levels of sodium in foods, but one is thing is for sure is that the body will look for another to maintain those levels of sodium in one way or another. And perhaps, we'd like to call that 'craving'…

In Closing

No matter how you look at it, drinking more fluids will at least prevent your body from feeling dehydrated, and will keep the fluids levels in your body in balance with the excess sodium that continues to find itself in our food these days.

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