If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, hopefully, you already know the ‘ground rules’ for avoiding the disease…
Insulin resistance is one of the earliest signs. That’s when blood sugar levels might be normal, but your pancreas has to produce more insulin than normal to get cells to convert blood glucose to energy.
For that reason, it’s important to avoid or keep high-glycemic foods to a minimum. That includes sugary, processed, high-carbohydrate foods.
If you’re already doing that, kudos to you… but what’s your salt habit like?
What most of us don’t know is that salting our food can be as quick a path to diabetes as sugar…
More salt = greater risk of diabetes
Salt is about blood pressure. Too much salt leads to hypertension — we all know that.
However, researchers from Tulane University have found that frequently adding salt to food was associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The study surveyed more than 400,000 adults registered in the UK Biobank about their salt intake.
The UK Biobank is a large, long-term study in the UK that aims to investigate the roles genes and environmental factors play in disease.
Over a median of 11.8 years of follow-up, more than 13,000 cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants.
And it was readily apparent that the more frequently salt was used, the more the risk went up.
Compared to those who “never” or “rarely” added salt to their food, participants who reported adding it:
- “sometimes,” had a 13 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes;
- “usually,” (regularly) saw that risk increase by 20 percent;
- “always,” saw their risk skyrocket to 39 percent!
Considering that diabetes can shave up to 14 years from your lifespan, this is certainly food for thought.
What’s the link between salt and diabetes?
More research is needed to determine why a high salt intake could be linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
For now, lead author Dr. Lu Qi has a theory…
He believes that salt encourages people to eat larger portions, increasing the chances of developing risk factors such as obesity and inflammation. In fact, the study found an association between frequent consumption of salt and higher BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.
There’s another possible connection.
Research shows that sodium can spike your cortisol levels by as much as 75 percent. And when cortisol levels go up, your body “stresses out,” which can lead to weight gain and high blood sugar.
Too much sodium is the real issue
Salt is made of two elements: sodium and chloride.
But it’s the sodium that does you in.
And sodium is everywhere, even in seemingly ‘healthy’ foods like Raisin Bran and canned vegetable juices.
To avoid consuming too much sodium, you must also become an avid label reader.
For example, a cup of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran has 350 mg. of sodium, as compared to 190 mg. for Cheerios or 85 mg. for Kashi Go Lean.
So if you’re eating ultra-processed foods full of sodium, and adding salt to your plate at times, it’s easy to see how you can get way too much.
Tasty food without the risk
The good thing about salt is that it’s just one spice. If you need to make your food taste better there are plenty of other worthy spices to reach for.
Even better, some of them can lower your blood pressure. But what’s that got to do with diabetes?
Hypertension and insulin resistance often go hand in hand. That means reducing your risk for high blood pressure is another way to lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Research shows these 24 herbs and spices are the ones you can generously add to your favorite foods to promote healthy blood pressure and make it easier to give up the salt shaker’s diabetes risk.
New research links high salt consumption to risk of Type 2 diabetes — Eureka Alert
Dietary Sodium Intake and Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes — Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Salt — Center for Science in the Public Interest
Sodium: a timeline — Center for Science in the Public Interest
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