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Super Contributor
Posts: 269
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

I am a healthy weight and I work out daily (aerobic dance 4 days per week and Pilates 3 days per week.) I am currently maintaining my weight and using the LoseIt app I am able to track my daily caloric intake to make sure I don't go over. My problem is my sodium and sugar intake. I consistently eat over 2300 mg of sodium and over 100 g of sugar daily. I am sure a lot of the problem is the processed microwave meals I eat at both lunch and dinner. I don't know what else to eat. There are not a lot of vegetables that I find appetizing. I do eat about 5 servings of fruit a day (maybe that is too much?) Any suggestions? Also I drink only water but flavor it with the 0 calorie Kool-aid liquid.

Thanks!

Super Contributor
Posts: 1,050
Registered: ‎11-13-2014

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

read labels!!! Also, stay away from package and prepared foods( pretty much anything in a can or box). fresh is best. You have to retrain your taste buds from the junk you have been ingesting. There will be a period of time that it will be hard.... stick with it. Use salt free spices... if you need sweet, fresh fruit is best. Greek Yogurt is better than regular yogurt as it is low in milk sugar and higher in protein..... make sure it is non fat sugar free Greek yogurt and top with fresh or frozen unsweetened blue berries.. it can become a wonderful snack/treat to stall off those sugar cravings.

In a month if you really are diligent and stick with it, you will find eating right comes natural.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,886
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

How many frozen dinners are you eating per day? Can you cut one out? That would reduce the sodium quite a bit. It's not that hard to make a sandwich or cook a small meal, make a healthy breakfast. You will be healthier eating quality nutrients from home cooked foods than frozen dinners.

In a nutrition class, we were told to limit sodium to 500 mg per serving, and lot of those dinners are well over that. It's not that easy to find lower sodium ones, but you can at least shoot for the ones closer to 500 than 900.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 3,874
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

Stop eating frozen, processed, pre-seasoned, and packaged foods and eat fresh most of the time! If you prepare simple meat, fish, or chicken and fresh salads, fruits, grains, and vegetables, you're in control of how much salt or sugar (and fats, and other ingredients) are added. You can boost flavor with herbs and seasonings and use little if any salt and sugar! Such meals don't have to be difficult or complicated to prepare and are almost always healthier.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,126
Registered: ‎06-20-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

The frozen meals are probably the worst thing to be eating.

Lean protein - tuna, chicken breast, turkey is an alternative. Even some pasta and vegetables and a green salad as an alternative.

Super Contributor
Posts: 292
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

I would agree with those that suggest try to eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Example: instead of Prego or Ragu pasta sauce, make your own from scratch. Once a month I make a big pot of it and then freeze it into recipe size containers. My doctor joked with me to avoid eating anything that has a label and/or ingredients that I cannot pronounce.

I started eating "whole foods" and found not only did I feel 100% better, but I lost those 10 last pounds that I wanted to, and my numbers for cholesterol improved dramatically. It might take a little work but in the long run it becomes a habit and you will reap the benefits. It reaches a point where processed foods taste "funny".

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,008
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

I don't profess to be an expert on this topic but I am a heart patient and because of this, I have had to seriously alter my eating habits. It is something that I research and study every day. If you are to lower your sodium and sugar intake, you must seriously change the way and the things you eat. It's not easy but it can be done. Take small steps. Don't try to change everything at once. Start by eliminating all processed foods - they are poison. Nothing in a can or box. If you do use them, look for those with ingredients you recognize - not alot of chemicals. Stop depending on microwave meals - they are dangerously high in sodium. Learn to cook your own food - it's easy, fun, and delicious. If you don't cook at all, start by cooking your weekend meals when you might have more time. Decrease the amount of fruit you eat per day - 5 servings is too much - cut it down to no more than 2. Instead, build your diet around vegetables. Roasted veggies are delicious, easy to prepare. Eliminate all white foods - potatoes, rice, white bread - these are high in sugars. And the hardest part (for me), - seriously limit desserts, no cookies, cakes, pies, candy. I limit myself to one small piece of dark chocolate a week (I don't always succeed here!) Final tip, learn how to read the ingredients label, not just the nutrition label which can be misleading. Be sure to eliminate all foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. I am an advocate of Dr. Agatstan, the cardiologist who started the South Beach Diet. You might find his books helpful. Good luck!!!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,415
Registered: ‎11-25-2011

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

A lot of artifical colorings/additives & natural spices/flavorings keep you hooked on sodium & sugar. Of course, anthing processed will have sodium.....but the 0calorie flavoring to your water keeps you hooked on sugar. Luckily, the tastebuds change QUICKLY....dramatically reducing sodium in a week/2 will make such a difference.....even a stalk of celery will taste salty!

Sugar...you can use stevia with no additives (check labels) and bake/cook with applesauce, dates, etc...Google for ideas. Again, your tastebuds will change quickly.

One thing that makes it reduction easier? Reduce the fat. It's not the salt...it's the salt & fat. It's not the sugar...it's the sugar & fat. Fat is the common denominator that sneaks in...also bringing in additives, flavorings & MSG to make things taste differently.

If you like fruit...eat away!!! I'm a proponent of a low fat, while foods, plant based diet. Lots & lots of starch to keep me satisfied!! Lots potatoes, rice, whole wheat pasta, tons of greens & veggies & fruit!

Super Contributor
Posts: 1,342
Registered: ‎10-13-2011

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

I agree that those frozen dinners (processed foods in general) are loaded with salt. Personally, I do not use a lot of salt, but when I do, I use "No Salt" (potassium chloride). Try not to add salt to things. I only really add salt to potatoes and eggs. My sister-in-law adds salt to everything before she even tastes it, including her lettuce salad!

Regarding your sugar intake, fruits are very high in sugar. I don't know what fruits you are eating, but some of the highest in sugar are grapes, figs, dates, lychees, mangos, & cherries. The fruits lowest in sugar are avocado, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

Congratulations on being faithful with your workouts!

Some people do drugs. I do shoes....Celine Dion
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,703
Registered: ‎10-21-2010

Re: Any tips for reducing Sodium & Sugar intake?

Dont they recommend 2400 grams or less of sodium for a person with normal blood pressure. I think your fine.