Toss the Salt for Weight Loss
Tossing salt over your shoulder has long been a ritual for good luck, but what do superstitions have to do with weight loss? When it comes to improving health among our children, tossing salt anywhere but your plate might be helpful.
Salt is a staple of our diets, but some argue that many children are eating too much of it. Some have even associated the overabundance of salt in our diets with the heightened rate of childhood obesity. While it is difficult to connect the rise of childhood obesity rates with a single component of our diets, it is safe to say that eating too much salt could be damaging the health of many children and adolescents in the United States.
For Kids, Weight Loss Comes with Improved Health
Researchers at Deakin University in Australia have recently published a study citing salt intake as one of the leading factors in weight problems for children. Researchers argue that children are consuming an overabundance of salt, and that this salt is coming from sources that are high in fat and unhealthy all around.
For example, the researchers found that of the sample they tested, the average child was consuming about six grams of salt per day. The study looked at children and adolescents between the ages of two and 16 years. Most kids should be consuming no more than three to five grams of salt each day, and though the correct level of salt consumption depends on the age of the child, six is high regardless.
To visualize how much this is, you can picture that one teaspoon of salt equals about five grams.
This differential of salt consumption might not sound like much, but it could add up to the salt content of two bags of chips in a day. And the problem is that many kids are getting this excess of salt from sources like potato chips, fried foods and other unhealthy items.
For many kids, cutting down on salt intake will mean cutting out a lot of junk that shouldn’t be so prevalent in their diet anyway. Cooking more meals at home where you are able to control the ingredients used can significantly reduce salt intake, as can reducing the consumption of pre-packaged and highly processed foods.