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Salt or Fructose: Which is Worse for Your Diet?

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Salt or Fructose: Which is Worse for Your Diet?

The U.S. News & World Report recently evaluated and ranked 20 different diets based on the ease of the regimen, level of nutrition, safety, and their effectiveness for combating obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Topping their list is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), followed by the Mediterranean diet.

What Makes the DASH Diet Successful?

The DASH diet, in many ways is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and has been found to be quite successful at both reducing hypertension and promoting weight loss at the same time. DASH promotes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and recommends avoiding sugars, red meat, and salt.

Many believe that the low sodium is responsible for its success. However, salt probably doesn’t have that much to do with it. I believe the primary reason why it works so well is because it restricts your intake of fructose—as does the Mediterranean diet. The idea that salt promotes high blood pressure is actually, at least in part, a myth.

In order to make heads or tails out of it, you must first understand that not all edible salts are created equal. One is health damaging, and the other is healing.

Salt—Essential or Harmful?

Ordinary table salt undergoes a great deal of processing. It is approximately 97.5 percent sodium chloride and 2.5 percent chemicals, such as iodine and moisture absorbents, dried at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This high heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt. By contrast, unrefined natural salt, such as Himalayan salt, is 84 percent sodium chloride and 16 percent other naturally occurring minerals, including many trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium.

Ordinary table salt has absolutely nothing in common with unrefined natural salt. The latter is essential for proper biological function, while too much of the former can indeed create health problems.

Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:

  • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
  • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
  • Helping the lining of your blood vessels to regulate blood pressure
  • Helping you regulate propagation of nerve impulses
  • Helping your brain send communication signals to your muscles, so that you can move on demand (sodium-potassium ion exchange)
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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

94 comments

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6:11PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Hmmmm.

12:45PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thanks.

1:09AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Um, this diet promotes eating fresh fruit, veggies, lean meats, etc... right? Fructose is the natural sugar that occurs in fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc... So fruit helps you lose weight, but the sugars that occur naturally in them make you fat? That makes no sense to me.

I avoid stuff like high fructose corn syrup, and unnatural flavorings. I use sea salt minimally, and the breads I eat are whole grain, and are also low in brown sugar.

The only useful information that I found was to use the Himalayan rock salt, and if I can at all find it at a reasonable price, I will use it.

Anyway, we're all going to die of something, so why keep pushing ridiculous ideas? Each person is different. We must start by learning how to eat right. When we do, then we can start to tweak it by eating less. It all boils down to balance.

1:19PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

interesting, thanks

5:59AM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

Don't know anything about Dr. Mercola, and "don'y know much about Biolog"y. No idea what he sells but my BP is fine with 0 high fruc. Was 160/ 115, now it is 90/60 so my dr. took me off BP meds. I still eat salt but will look for the better non processed salt. My dentist showed me a soda jar with a level of white sugar that equaled the amount of the fructose in the drink. It was 3/4 full of white sugar. Kids drink this stuff by the gallons. If it was good for you, moderation should clearly call for less soda and other fruc or even sugar products but I think the high fruc is not good for me, at least. BTW, has everyone had a glass of coca cola from Mexico, where they use real sugar? I have, and it is good. No, I don't sell coke or any other foodstuff

9:25AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Good information, thanks for posting.

1:47PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

interesting, thanks!

10:25AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Very interesting.

4:23PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

thanks for this info....

3:55PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

In this particular article, Dr. Mercola did NOT promote any of his products directly. I agree though, if you were to follow all of his advice, statements, opinions, and product promotion, you would soon throw up your arms in frustration.
However, speaking about today's topic, salt: I am a diabetic with kidney failure and have to be very vigilant about my diet. I have been using Himalayan Rock Salt for years now, and the sodium levels on my quarterly blood tests are always within acceptable range. Keeping potassium levels under control is a lot more difficult!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Thanks for the information. If Ben Franklin had had his way, the turkey would be our national bird.

9 Make friends with your local raccoons and possums!

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