Using a salt substitute is recommended if you have been advised to lower your sodium intake. The most common salt substitute is one that mimics table salt, both in taste and appearance. But, instead of sodium chloride, it uses potassium chloride as the main ingredient. While you may not be getting enough potassium on a daily basis, too much of it is also harmful, especially if you are already suffering from kidney, heart or liver disease and diabetes and are unable to get rid of excess potassium.
Salt substitutes are not limited to salty tastes. In fact, it can be anything to enhance the flavor of food. The most logical replacements are herbs and spices, which when mixed together offer a better alternative to salt. More importantly, most of these ingredients are known to contain nutrients that are beneficial to the body and often help manage your weight.
Less Salt Leads to Less Fat
The one basic taste that adds flavor to foods is saltiness. However, you unknowingly consume more salt, or sodium chloride, especially if your diet is made up of processed or “convenience” foods and fast foods, because this is a necessary ingredient that prolongs shelf life. Sodium is inherent in most foods. The composition of salt is 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. By adding table salt to food, you have increased its sodium content by 40 percent.
If you are wondering why you still gain weight even with a supposedly healthy diet, the culprit is most likely your salt intake. The recommended daily allowance of sodium is between 2,400 and 3,000 mg or a level teaspoon, which is usually exceeded by as much as three times. Your body has natural fat storage hormones. Too much sodium will stimulate these hormones to speed up the rate in which they store fat, leaving you with extra pounds you can do without.
A high concentration of sodium also wreaks havoc with electrolytes that help control bodily functions. For the concentration of electrolytes to remain constant, the body will compensate by triggering the thirst mechanism, urging you to consume more fluids. This results in bloating, which is another cause for weight gain. By using salt substitutes, you bring your sodium level down to a manageable point that will not only control your weight, but will help keep you healthy as well.
Common Salt Substitutes
Garlic, onion and powdered pepper, plus herbs like basil, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary are the salt substitutes that are more popular as flavor enhancers. Spices are known as appetite suppressants, mainly due to their strong odor and flavors. They also contain thermogenic properties that speed up the metabolism, thereby allowing you to burn calories faster.
Basil contains cinnamanic acid that helps stabilize the blood sugar, so your body converts carbohydrates to energy more efficiently, a vital process to controlling your weight. Oregano wards off indigestion. With a healthy digestive system, your body is better able to break down food and distribute the necessary nutrients to various parts that need them.