Thursday, July 14, 2011

Diabetes and Salt Intake

Question:  If I have diabetes do I have to watch my salt intake?

Answer:  While salt/sodium does not have a direct effect on blood sugars, it can have an effect on blood pressure.  Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure.  Some people are salt-sensitive meaning that the sodium they consume in their diet will increase their blood pressure.  It is a general recommendation for anyone with diabetes to moderate their intake of sodium.

The American Heart Association recommends a daily sodium intake of no more than 1,500 mg (the amount of sodium in a 6-inch sub sandwich).  I do find that this is very difficult for the average American to try to do.  A more realistic guideline for most people is to keep sodium intake under 2,300 mg per day as recommended by the American Diabetes Association 2010 Standards of Medical Care.

Limit the use of table salt and try to cook more fresh herbs and spices for flavor.   Avoid canned and processed foods as much as possible - fresh foods tend to be much lower in sodium.  Limit fast foods and eating out as many restaurant foods are loaded with salt as a preservative. 

For more information on the benefits of limiting the sodium in your diet, check out the following link:

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