Tips To Reduce Sugar And Salt In Your Diet
We have all heard from our health professionals that we eat way too much salt and sugar in the UK and how this can be detrimental to our health.
But how do salt and sugar affect weight loss? Is it true that too much salt causes water retention and too much sugar piles on the body fat?
In this blog, we will take a look at what effects salt and sugar have on the body and give you some tips on how to reduce them in your diet.
Salt And Weight Loss
The NHS advises us that a diet high in salt (or sodium) can cause raised blood pressure, which leads to an increased risk of strokes and heart disease. They recommend that adults should consume no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium), which amounts to about 1 teaspoon.
You don’t have to add salt to your food to end up eating too much of it because about 75% of the salt we consume is already contained in our everyday foods like bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals.
However, it’s not recommended to cut salt and go on a salt-free diet. As sodium, the main ingredient in salt is essential to keep our muscles and nerves working effectively and supporting our bodies to maintain a proper fluid balance.
But you may wonder if salt is bad for weight loss? You may have heard that too much salt leads us to drink too much and may be the cause of water retention. As sodium binds to water in the body in order to maintain the balance of fluid, both inside and outside of the cells, if you eat too much salt, the balance is disturbed, and your body can retain water. This will add extra weight to your body.
When your sodium levels are high, salt will effectively stop the water in your body from being balanced, and instead of working with your metabolism to burn calories and fat efficiently, it will work against it.
On top of this, in the last few years, research has been carried out on whether salt has further effects on obesity. One study showed that eating extra salt each day increased the risk of obesity in adults by 26%. The researchers couldn’t completely conclude why this happens, but other studies suggest that salt intake may affect how the body burns fat.
Whether you’re concerned about water retention or the other health risks of too much salt in your diet, the following tips will help you cut the amount you eat down.
How To Reduce Salt Intake
Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of salt in the food you eat.
- Don’t automatically add salt to your cooking; it’s often an unnecessary habit, and your food will taste fine without it.
- Compare labels. Look at the nutrition labels on the packaging. You’ll find you can reduce your salt intake just by swapping out everyday foods like cereals and sauces.
- Change your snacking habits. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of crisps and crackers. If you feel you must have them, check the labels and choose ones with lower salt content. Salted nuts are best avoided.
- Reduce sauces. Soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces are usually high in salt.
- Reduce or replace cured meats. Cured meats and fish can be high in salt; try to eat them much less often.
- Switch up the seasoning. When you cook at home, try using different flavours like black pepper, herbs, spices or garlic to add flavour instead of salt.
- Make smart choices eating out. Hold off on dressings or toppings that might be high in salt, avoid bacon, ham and cheese, choosing chicken or vegetables instead.
Eating excessive salt can be addictive and you might need to reduce it slowly. This is where having the framework of a structured diet with additional support can make a lot of difference. The Mediweight programme is a medically supervised weight loss solution with weekly support, making it easier for you to reach your weight loss goals.
Cutting Out Sugar For Weight Loss
We Britons are well known for eating too much sugar. The average Brit eats 700g of it a week, averaging 140 teaspoons per person. Sugar causes weight gain because it is high in calories while offering few other nutrients. It’s often known as empty calories. Regularly eating high sugar foods is likely to cause you to gain excess body fat more quickly and excessively.
Excessive sugar intake is not only linked to obesity and weight gain but has also been proven to contribute to tooth decay, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Reducing sugar is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. Some people report other benefits like better mood, clearer mind and improved digestion too.
Foods high in sugar tend to be less satisfying, too, as they are low or lack protein, affecting blood sugar control and leaving you hungry even after eating a lot of calories. Sugary snacks also tend to displace healthy foods and may cause you to be missing out on other nutrients you need.
How To Reduce Sugar Intake
Here are our tips on cutting sugar from your diet for weight loss.
- Plan for high protein meals. Meals that contain high-quality protein sources will fill you up and give you a feeling of satisfaction, reducing the need to snack.
- Crowd out the sugary snacks. Fill your cupboards with healthy snacks like fruit, unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes or plain popcorn. Maybe even remove all temptation from your house by not having any sugary snacks within reach.
- Cut out sugary drinks. Nearly a quarter of added sugar in our diets comes from sugary drinks, like fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes and cordials. Try flavouring water with a slice of lemon or lime or a splash of fruit juice. Reduce, or cut out, the amount of sugar you add to tea and coffee.
- Keep an eye on those labels. Always check and compare the labels of the food you buy. You’ll probably be shocked at how much sugar is added to pasta sauces and ketchup.
- Meal plan. If you put together a meal plan for the week ahead, you can work out how to replace foods you usually eat and add in some items you can use as a ‘treat’.
Cutting out sugar may seem scary at first, but many people say it was one of the best decisions they ever made for themselves.
Like eating excessive salt, sugar can be addictive, and you might need to reduce it slowly. Again, having the framework of a structured diet with additional support can make a lot of difference. Mediweight helps you by giving you clear instructions on what foods to eat and when for your personal weight loss goals.
- Overeating salt and sugar is detrimental to your health and is also a major contributor to obesity.
- Salt and sugar intake can both be reduced or eliminated by reducing food high in them and ‘crowding them out’ with other more healthy foods.
- Reading nutritional labels on the foods you buy can help you monitor and control your salt and sugar intake.
- Following a structured diet plan will likely help you achieve your weight loss goals more effectively than going it alone.
Contact us, where our experienced and knowledgeable team are on hand to introduce you to Mediweight, a body transformation programme that delivers fast, effective, medically supervised weight loss. Call our specialist Mediweight advisers to find out more about the programme and book your doctor consultation.
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