To Your Health
May, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 05)
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Cut the Salt, Cut the Soda

By Editorial Staff

It can be an uphill battle to wean your kids off soft drinks. Some days, it seems easier to give in to their demands. As strange as it may sound, one of the easiest ways to encourage kids to cut back on those sugar-laden, empty-calorie drinks might be to cut back on their salt consumption.

A study from the United Kingdom found that when children's salt intake was reduced, their demand for soft drinks also went down. A group of 1,686 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 18 kept food and drink diaries for one week to track both their salt and fluid intake. The researchers found that a reduction of only 1 gram per day of salt (about 2 teaspoons) correlated with a 27 gram (about 1 fluid ounce) reduction in sugar-sweetened soft-drink consumption. The researchers also speculated that a decrease of 3 grams per day of salt could lead to an average reduction of 2.3 soft drinks per child per week.

Here are six easy ways to reduce your family's salt intake:

  1. A spilled shaker of salt. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Shop wisely and read labels carefully.
  2. Choose low-salt varieties of snacks and canned goods.
  3. Rely less on processed, instant and frozen foods, and more on fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables.
  4. Don't add salt when preparing meals (or add as little as possible).
  5. Reduce the temptation by taking the salt shaker off the table.
  6. Find other ingredients to add flavor to family meals, such as lemon juice, herbs and spices.