We’re always being told what’s bad for us (looking at you red meat, excess calories, carbs and trans fats), but two of the usual suspects are sugar and salt. “But they’re both natural,” you might protest. Unfortunately, natural doesn’t always mean good for us. What’s worse is that cravings usually come in one of the two flavors: salty or sweet. This being said, the folks over at Shape magazine thought it was about time that someone figure out which one is worse for you.
When I was a little girl I had a book called The Big Purple Book of Fairytales by Caroline Sharpe. One of my favorite stories was “Cap O’Rushes,” in which a young girl quantifies her love for her father by telling him she loves him as much as fresh meat loves salt (her father does not get what she means by this – he must have had a sweet tooth). When given the choice of pretzels or chocolates I go for the former – Needless to say, as I read the article, I was pulling Team Sodium.
The Shape article is very clear that everything is okay in moderation. However, when consumed in excess Sodium can cause hypertension (a.k.a the “silent killer” or high blood pressure) which “is responsible for more than 350,000 deaths a year.” Not-So-Fun Fact: 75% of the sodium we consume is in prepackaged, processed and restaurant food – yikes! Sugar has all sorts of negative effects on both your short-term and long-term health, from weight gain all the way to diabetes (with many more frightening side effects in between). If you’ve ever known anyone with diabetes you know that sugar is converted to insulin, but what you may not know is that insulin loves sodium even more than Cap O’Rushes and it causes your kidneys to hang on to the salty stuff. Talk about a double whammy!
The article closes by saying that you don’t need to cut both sugar and sodium out of your diet completely, but I still think I’ll go light on the salted caramels from now on. [Source]