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A low salt diet makes you more insulin resistant
You’ve got high blood pressure……………
This pressure situation is a risk for a cardiovascular event and an early demise, so you’re working at bringing it down. The first piece of advice to anyone with blood pressure problems links to salt consumption.
In short…………. EAT LESS SALT, A LOT LESS.
It sounds quite simple, but salt is one of those ingredients that makes food taste good. It especially makes processed foods taste good, but it also makes REAL FOOD, a whole lot more palatable.
Going low salt
Going low salt is NOT so easy, but, it can be done.
And for people with high blood pressure, it is HIGHLY recommended.
So does it help ?
The short answer………….. it depends.
Salt sensitives versus salt resistants
If you are someone who is salt sensitive, decreasing your salt intake, will lower your blood pressure. If you are NOT salt sensitive i.e. salt resistant, it will do NOTHING….
To your blood pressure in the moment.
That said, whether you are salt sensitive or salt resistant, it will do SOMETHING, to how insulin resistant you are.
No……………. it won’t improve the situation.
It will make it worse.
This is what a group of researchers from Harvard Medical school, recently discovered.
In search of high blood pressure
The team enlisted the help of people with high blood pressure, that were otherwise healthy and “clean” living i.e. not smokers, drinkers or druggers. The cut off point, the numbers needed to be part of their study, was a blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mmHg.
NOTE : Normal is 120/80 mmHg.
Salt in the diet
The participants in the study, 389 in total, switched up the level of salt in their diet, over a period of three weeks. In week one and week three, they ate their salt doctored dinners, which had been cooked up in the research kitchen.
In week 2, they took a break from being lab rats and just ate normally.
Salty snacks and salt less snacks
One week, the levels of salt in the diet, was HIGH.
200 mmol/ day sodium, 100 mmol/day potassium, 20 mmol/day calcium.
The other week, the diet was a low salt affair – seriously LOW salt.
10 mmol/ day sodium, 100 mmol/day potassium, 20 mmol/day calcium.
Actually, the HIGH salt number used in this study, is pretty close to what the average American consumes. Translated into more understandable numbers it would be around 4.5 g / day. To put this in context, health authorities routinely recommend, people drop their sodium consumption to below 2.5 g / per day.
Salty pee and pressure cuffs
On the morning of day 6, of the week long diet, the participants were required to begin collecting their pee and to check into the Clinical Research Centre, for a restful night.
The following morning was busy…………before breakfast,
- there was a blood draw, to test various hormones and things
- the final squirts of urine where added to their 24 hour urine sample and
- blood pressure was taken, on five separate occasions.
So what happened ?
A low salt diet caused insulin resistance
In 193 patients, the low salt diet, did indeed lower their blood pressure, these people are considered salt sensitive. In the remaining 196 people, blood pressure did not change.
So does the fact that a low salt diet makes you more insulin resistant matter ?
Odds are, the reason you’ve got high blood pressure, is because…………….you’re insulin resistant. And insulin resistance is implicated in the metabolic troubles associated with cardiovascular disease.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out…
Being MORE insulin resistant is NOT a health move.
Fight the right battles
There is no doubt about it, high blood pressure is a risk for cardiovascular disease and walking around, with your pipes filled to capacity, increases your odds of a blowout.
But, salt is not the bad guy per se. Sometimes salt is even the good guy.
So rather than taking aim at the amount of salt in your diet, take aim at the real culprit, too much sugar and too much insulin. CANDY FLOSSing is a good place to start, click here to learn more about it.
The problem with salt consumption usually not salt induced blood pressure spikes but salt induced belly bulges.
After vigorous exercise rehydrating is important but beware drinking water is replacing the water not the sodium. Too little sodium can also kill.
Salty snacks may be acceptable as long as you tame the salt thirst with good old fashioned water but don’t drink too much and be cautious if you have a spare tyre already…..