The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Sodium. We all know about it and we’ve all heard we eat too much of it; but what, really, is sodium? And why does it matter if we eat too much of it? Well, for one, sodium, plain and simple, is necessary for the body to function to properly. It plays a vital role in water balance, nerve function, and a whole array of various physiological functions that are of the utmost significance to our health. That said, we really only need a small amount—500 mg, in fact. To put that into perspective, you can get your daily amount of sodium from a serving of chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, cheeses, pretzels, or even salted nuts. Even condiments like ketchup and salad dressings are packed to the brim with sodium.

Considering we get our daily intake from something as simple as a bag of pretzels, it is easy to see how so many Americans are consuming far too much sodium (like 4 to 5k on a daily basis); and we only need 500mg! Even being conservative, that means the majority of American adults are processing 8 times more sodium than they should be. Even the American Medical Association is speaking up and is trying to persuade the FDA to revoke their categorization of salt as a supposedly ‘safe’ additive. You can see why.

What’s really intriguing about all of this is the fact that salt is actually an incredibly addictive substance. So it makes sense that big food manufacturers would pump the stuff into their products. They want you to keep coming back. They don’t care about your expanding waistline, only their expanding pocketbook. To show you what I mean, there has been clinical research conducted that illustrates the fact that salt actually shares many of the same attributes of addictive substances (i.e. morphine, cocaine, and heroin). When we ingest these addictive substances, our brains release hormones that we perceive as pleasurable sensations. Thus, we keep coming back for more.

Additionally, a Finnish study that was published in 2006 concluded that there is a clear-cut link correlation salt intake and obesity. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, Americans’ salt intake increased tremendously by more than 50%. Here’s why this fact really is such terrible news: a diet that with too much sodium is the leading cause of high blood pressure, which in turn leads to heart disease and stroke (which, shocker, are two diseases that go hand-in-hand with obesity).

When a man or woman has a high blood pressure reading of 140/85, their blood begins coagulating into a sort of salty sludge. Then, in reaction, their body will start dumping extra water into their bloodstream which results in the expansion of blood vessels—indicating any number of potentially fatal problems. Well, now that I’ve established too much sodium is awful for you, here’s what you can do to mitigate the effects:

-Consumer fewer processed foods

-Choose fresh or frozen veggies, not canned

-Purchase fresh meats, not canned, cured or smoked

-Ask about unsalted meals at restaurants

-Opt for low sodium versions of soups and snacks

-Choose foods that don’t list salt or sodium in the first five ingredients

-Use a salt-free herbal blend instead of a traditional salt shaker

Good luck, Godspeed, and stay healthy! Cheers!


Is Your Cereal Saturated with Sodium?

Image of Salty CerealIt likely will not be totally unexpected to hear that a diet that is too heavy in sodium can be extremely detrimental to your health. However, many Americans are surprised to learn that most problems associated with sodium consumption actually have very little to do with salt you sprinkle over your food for seasoning. In fact, the FDA estimates Americans only take in about 10% of their daily sodium in the process of adding salt during cooking or at the table. The vast majority of your sodium intake, nearly 80% in fact, actually comes from eating processed foods.

This holds true, even for processed foods you might not even associate with saltiness. Consider breakfast cereals and other grains. These can be an unexpected source of sodium, the consumption of which can negatively impact your body composition. The two key steps you need to take in order to prevent that from happening are comprised of rather straightforward, positive habit building. First, have you ever actually investigated what an appropriate serving size is? You should. Secondly, can you stick to eating only that recommended amount per serving? Because, if you are serious about your health, you must. There is a decent chance that, currently, you are eating significantly more than what is recommended in the Nutrition Facts section. One of the most important habits for your health is learning to stay informed about what you are putting in your body – and how much of it is the appropriate amount.

Recent studies actually indicate that people who have taken the time to both learn and adhere to the correct portion of something like a breakfast cereal are much better off. Most people were, on average, pouring themselves twice the amount of recommended cereal per serving. When you factor in the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates in many packaged cereal, as well as things like sodium, it becomes obvious how easily it can be to start your day off on the wrong foot with breakfast if you are not making an effort to live a better lifestyle.


Where do Americans Get the Most Sodium?

Companies behind highly processed packaged foods that are in the way of you and that thinner waistline you are working for may want you to think that issues with sodium come from how many times you shake that salt shaker. But, this may come to a surprise to many of you, that is far from the truth.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has published a breakdown of where Americans take in sodium from, the real source of high sodium diets is:

Josh Bezoni Fitness Sodium Breakdown

77% from processed foods

12% from naturally occurring sources

6% added at the table

5% added during cooking

Now it might start to make sense why many companies want you to think that high sodium intake stems from others and not their processed foods.

A high sodium diet can have a very negative impact on your health by increasing your blood pressure which can lead to several problems down the line. It can also ruin an otherwise good diet, which is why the consumption of processed foods should be reduced if not completely avoided.

One issue with packaged foods is that it may be harder to control the portions, further increasing the amount of sodium you consume. Take eating a bowl of cereal as an example. How many people actually stop to look at the Nutrition Facts panel and attempt to stick to the actual suggested serving size? Probably less than you think and that means that a lot of people are consuming more than they should of these packaged and processed foods that are high in sodium, calories and carbohydrates.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.