Diet Villain Alert: Sodi Sumo:
Using too much sodium (table salt and sodium derivatives)
Total daily sodium intake (milligrams)
Sodium is a mineral that helps our nerves and muscles function properly, aids in the absorption of major nutrients, and helps maintain an adequate water and mineral balance. However, the typical American diet includes three to five times more sodium than we need.
An important side note: To add to the problem of sodium overconsumption, our inadequate intake of other important minerals—like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and others—not only affects our overall health & fitness, but can create a harmful imbalance in electrolytes. Our bodies require a proper electrolyte balance to regulate important functions like nerve reactions and muscle functions.
- Sodium becomes a problem when we consume it in excess. We add table salt to our meals and recipes; eat processed, canned, packaged, and fast food; and eat out frequently at non-health-food restaurants where we don’t know what kind of seasoning the chef is using.
- Excessive sodium can cause fluid retention in blood vessels, making our hearts work harder and resulting in high blood pressure.
- Excessive sodium can make us look and feel bloated by causing us to retain water subcutaneously (i.e., under our skin) rather than in our muscles.
* Total Daily Sodium Intake Rules
- MY DIVA DIET recommends that you consume approximately one milligram of sodium per calorie (or slightly over or under). So, if you are eating 1,300 calories per day, you should consume only about 1,300 milligrams of sodium per day (if you are exercising and sweating, you can consume more sodium—just make sure it comes from natural sources).
- MY DIVA DIET recommends not only that you decrease sodium intake by choosing healthy foods, but that you increase your intake of potassium and other important minerals.
- Read labels to look for total sodium content and sodium derivatives like sodium nitrite, sorbate, sulfite, etc.—there are too many to list here and some of them are actually harmful.
- It is better to skip most processed, packaged, canned, frozen, and man-made foods entirely, as they are packed with sodium and sodium derivatives.
- Consume sodium the natural way by drinking water and eating wholesome foods in their natural state.
- Cook without salt, using fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices to enhance your dishes.
- Remove the salt shaker from your table and train your taste buds to enjoy the natural flavors of real foods—use pepper instead!
- If you must use salt, use kosher salt or sea salt and use it sparingly.
- I always hear, “I don’t use salt on my food, so I don’t get sodium in my diet.” Just in case you think you aren’t consuming much sodium, be aware that many non-junk foods contain sodium. And, as mentioned earlier, restaurant dining doesn’t give you control over the salt used in the meals you or order—unless you ask.
- Because sodium is an important nutrient, going sodium-free is not the answer either.
- In fact foods in their natural state contain sodium naturally!
Meats and poultry, 3 oz. -- 50 to 70 (mg)
Fish, 3 oz. -- 40 to 70 (mg)
Eggs, 1 (whole) -- 65 (mg)
Milk, 8 oz. -- 100 to 125 (mg)
Cheese, 1 oz. -- 90 to 100 (mg)
Yogurt, 1 cup -- 100 to 175 (mg)
Vegetables, 1/2 to 1 cup -- 0 to 151 (mg)
Potato, 1 -- 16 (mg)
Take a quick quiz (from MY DIVA DIET "Diva 32-Question Diet Quiz"). Only one answer is acceptable -- then write down score (+15 is best and -15 is worst)!
# 18. Total daily sodium intake (milligrams)
- I eat less than 1,600 mg of sodium each day (most of it from natural foods) and/or I occasionally use kosher or sea salt = +15
- I eat low sodium (I don’t salt my food, I rarely eat at restaurants, and I don’t eat processed, canned, or frozen foods and very few sauces, creams, etc.) = +10
- I use salt only to shake over my shoulder for luck = 0
- I have no clue how much sodium I consume each day = -10
- I do use salt in my cooking and sometimes salt my food, but I don’t eat a lot of processed foods = -10
- I cook with a lot of salt and eat a lot of processed, canned, and frozen foods = -15
- I eat high sodium—I love salt and put it on everything, just like Sodi Sumo = -15
Total #18 = _____
Monitoring your sodium intake reduces water retention and strain on your cardiovascular system and kidneys—so you won’t end up looking and feeling like Sodi Sumo—bloated and stiff!