All About Salt
Salt and Type 2 Diabetes
Having Type 2 diabetes increases risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. Adding too much salt to your diet compounds all of these risks, especially that of high blood pressure, and people with diabetes can benefit from cutting back on sodium where possible. That said, some research has shown that super low-salt diets can actually increase insulin resistance. Because of this, monitoring your sodium intake and striving to achieve a balanced diet that includes salt but doesn’t overdo it seems to be the best course of action for those with Type 2.
Current Intake Recommendation
The American Heart Association recommends that people who are at risk for developing heart disease, including anyone with T2D, should limit sodium intake to 1500 mg/day.
Major sources of sodium include bread, cold cuts, pizza, processed poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta, meat dishes, and various snacks like pretzels, chips, or popcorn. These foods make up over 40% of our consumption of sodium and the amount of sodium in the average American’s diet has increased steadily with the prevalence of processed foods.
How to Switch Up Your Eating Habits
Eating less sodium is completely doable and doesn’t need to be done with fad diets or commercially advertised low-sodium foods. Various, easy options for less sodium include unprocessed foods like:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Dried beans, peas, and legumes
- Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and popcorn without added salt
- Most fresh/frozen meats, poultry, and fish without added salt
Other tips include using less cheese, fewer condiments, making soups and broths yourself so you can monitor the amount of salt added, avoiding eating out when possible, and avoiding processed foods when possible. Being more diligent about reading labels is also helpful, as is adhering to the DASH Diet, which is specifically designed to stop hypertension. You can also check out the Mediterranean diet, which also promotes foods naturally low in sodium.