“Ordinary table salt has absolutely nothing in common with unrefined natural salt. The latter is essential for proper biological function, while too much of the former can indeed create health problems.
Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:
- Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
- Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
- Helping the lining of your blood vessels to regulate blood pressure
- Helping you regulate propagation of nerve impulses
- Helping your brain send communication signals to your muscles, so that you can move on demand (sodium-potassium ion exchange)”
Personally, I carry sea salt in my purse and use that instead of what is on the table at a restaurant.
“That said, hypertension is actually promoted more by excess fructose than excess salt. So while I certainly agree you should not consume large quantities of refined processed salt, just switching to low-sodium processed foods is not going to do much to improve your health.
The connecting link between fructose consumption and hypertension lies in the uric acid produced. Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism, and increased uric acid levels drive up your blood pressure.
The amounts of salt Americans consume pales in comparison to the amount of fructose eaten on a daily basis, and I’m convinced that it’s the sugar/fructose consumption that is the major driving force behind our skyrocketing hypertension rates, not excess salt. For more information about this, see investigative journalist Gary Taubes’ article, The (Political) Science of Salt.
Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. Here are a few important facts about fructose:
- After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. With glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent. The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- Fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn free fatty acids (FFAs) into triglycerides that get stored as fat. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose, however, results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
- The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.
- Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating. For further confirmation on this, check out this 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The researchers concluded that fructose turned into body fat much quicker than glucose, and that having fructose for breakfast changed how the body handled fats at lunch.
Ironically, the food products that most people rely on to lose weight—low-fat diet foods—often contain the most fructose! So beware, and always read the content labels.”
This is not a license to go around eating candy, though.