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Limiting My Sodium and Sugar Consumption

My August Nutrition Goal: Reduce Sodium & Sugar intake!

Mindful Nutrition Choices Reducing Sodium and Sugar Consumption  On the blog

The typical American diet has become reliant on salt and sugar for flavor.

Why? Because both are cheap and don’t amount to significant calories.

But they have MAJOR health impacts on the body.

Sodium hides in many (or most) packaged items, and it’s important to be aware of how much we consume.

  • Food is measured under the big umbrella of calories.
    • Breaking that down, we have the main “macronutrients” carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
      • Beyond that, we have vitamins and minerals. **I’m not saying let’s start tracking our manganese and gingko biloba consumption (who has time for that?!) but I definitely stay aware of how much sodium and sugar are in processed foods before buying them.

Reducing sodium and sugar with mindful nutrition choices (

Sodium doesn’t just come from the salt in the Morton’s container with the girl and yellow umbrella or in the shaker on the dining room table. The obvious offenders like ketchup and soy sauce are loaded with NaCl. But did you ever think about HOW much salt is on your popcorn, peanuts, and chips? Hint: TOO MUCH.

Mindful Eating: Nutrition on sodium and sugar (

If you don’t already, be sure to check nutrition labels for sodium and sugar content. Sodium will have a “percentage of daily value” whereas sugar will not.

The government regulations provide a daily recommended value of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. I wish there was a recommended guideline for grams of sugar per day, but I suppose that would be hard to measure with fruits, veggies and other natural sources.

For this month, I will be monitoring my sodium and staying within the 2,300mg/day limit. For sugar, I am trying not to exceed 35 grams per day from packaged items.

I will never NEVER limit fruit intake for calorie/sugar purposes, and veggies are basically the best thing ever to put into your body. So no need to worry about those :) Natural sugar is A-OK and we are more concerned with processed chemicals like good ole’ High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn syrup solids, fructose, glucose, etc.

Reading packaging labels for salt and sugar nutrition (

Salt is virtually calorie-less. So no, flavoring your veggies and pasta with salt won’t add any huge calorie impact. However sodium content DOES play a huge role in our body functions and weight.

Internally: according to, consuming excess sodium increases blood pressure which puts you at risk for a whole slew of heart problems.

Externally: Salt makes you BLOAT. The NaCl wants to hold onto water. More salt = more water. Water weight is not “fat” and won’t appear as cellulite, but it does show up on the scale and when you try to button your jeans.

Sugar has ALL KINDS of nasty effects.

Sugar contributes to cavities, blood sugar spikes and drops, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.

Learning to reduce salt & sugar:

Spring roll veggies

First step: put the salt shaker down! We literally only have a pepper shaker in my family’s kitchen. Adding salt to foods really packs on the sodium micrograms and overpowers the flavors of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains. When it comes to cutting table salt, I say go cold turkey. Let yourself taste all of the food’s natural flavors with herbs and spices. Then when salt is reintroduced to your recipes, you will be able to notice the difference. You might not even like the saltiness anymore.

As far as sugar is concerned, it starts in the grocery store. Reading nutrition labels before throwing products in the basket is the best thing you can do to keep from sabotaging your own healthy efforts. Finding low-sugar alternatives to items like salad dressing, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter and yogurt will all depend on the choices you make when shopping!

I also think it is better to just eliminate excess sugar completely instead of substituting with a sugar-free aspartame-based sweetener (though I will on occasion, like with skinny lattes). Also try trading sugar and sweeteners with stevia. It’s a plant extract, and has been minimally processed in the raw form. I use it baking! Experiment with recipes and find healthy alternatives that use applesauce, bananas, squash and cinnamon as sweeteners.

Kabob collage*The anti-salt: cucumbers and lemon. That would make a pretty infused water! I’ll be sipping on tea with lemon slices and munching on afternoon cucumber slices :)


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