3 reasons to eat less salt

Belly bloating and hypertension. Need more reasons to eat less salt? A diet high in salt (comprised mainly of sodium chloride) is a risk factor for heart disease and osteoporosis. Plus, it can make you consume more calories

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Cut back the salt

According to Dietitians of Canada, we’re eating too much sodium: The average Canadian consumes about 3,500 milligrams of sodium each day-but it should be between 1,500 and 2,300. (One teaspoon [5 mL] of salt has 2,300 milligrams of sodium.) Here’s why you should cut back.

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1. Salt can make you thirsty for high-calorie drinks

(Chips and pop, anyone?) Research by Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at St. George’s, University of London (U.K.) has shown that children who halve their salt intake drink two fewer sugary soft drinks per week, stripping more than 230 calories from their diets. “The same effect is seen in adults,” he says.

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2. Salt causes the kidneys to retain fluid

This increases blood pressure in the arteries. A study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the U.S. found that switching from a typical high-salt diet to a low-salt one could lower a person’s blood pressure as much as taking prescribed drugs could.

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3. Too much sodium can also weaken bones

“A high-salt diet raises urinary calcium losses,” says Caryl Nowson, an exercise and nutrition science professor at Australia’s Deakin University. When we excrete too much calcium, our intestinal absorption of calcium increases, and our bodies compensate by taking calcium from our bones.

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