Sugar kills, salt doesn’t

Whether you’ve been with me for a while or if you’ve just joined me, you probably know that I’m passionate about spreading one message.

Okay, I’m passionate about spreading more than just one message. But there’s one that’s so near and dear to my heart that it just might be engraved on my tombstone. Here it is…

Sugar kills.

I know I say it a lot. That’s because I hope if I say it enough, people will finally start to listen — and drop sugar once and for all.

But if I had a secondary message — a footnote on my tombstone, if you will — it would be this:

Salt doesn’t kill.

Of course, if you pay attention to mainstream doctors and nutrition organizations, you’d never know it. The misleading messages we get about salt are mind boggling. In fact, many people believe salt is just as bad for them as sugar.

I’m here to dispel that myth.

My patients are a pretty savvy bunch. But even they get caught up in thinking they need to cut their salt intake to zero in order to be healthy.

News flash: They don’t. And neither do you.

I’ll tell you what I tell them. You’re not the person who needs to worry about salt intake. If you’re reading this Reality Health Check, you already know more about nutrition than 99 percent of the population.

If you follow my guidance, you eat a clean diet and cook most of your food at home. And that sets you apart from most Americans.

When it comes to sodium, you are just fine. Salt your food to taste, and enjoy it. You are not in danger of getting too much sodium.

That’s not to say that no one needs to worry about salt. A big segment of our population does ingest too much salt. But it’s not my readers and patients, who are already making smart nutrition choices.

It’s the people who mostly eat food prepared outside their homes who need to take heed. It’s those who don’t cook, who primarily rely on chain restaurants or prepared foods.

A recent study proves my point. Researchers found that a whopping 70 percent of the sodium that Americans consume is from foods not prepared at home. Which just goes to show you that the salt shaker on your table is not the problem.

In fact, less than 5 percent of sodium intake comes from that shaker. And just over 5 percent comes from the salt you add during cooking.

So please — stop fretting about the salt you use at home. Salt is good for you in moderation. As a matter of fact, too little can lead to kidney issues.

In this study, as in others, participants easily sailed past the recommended sodium intake of 2,300 a day. The average intake was just over 3,500 mg per day.

Which sounds pretty bad. Until you consider the fact that 3,500 mg per day is the recommended amount in Europe. And in other places around the world — with heart and kidney disease rates far lower than those here in the U.S. — the recommendation is even higher.

Why is it that the so-called health “experts” take the anti-salt message to the extreme — but they don’t do the same with sugar?

Instead of haranguing people about 3,500 mg/day of salt, how about taking aim at the 150 pounds per year of sugar consumed by the average American?

Now that’s something I’d love to see.

People shunning sugar completely, counting every gram and trying to get down to zero. Imagine how healthy our nation would be then.