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    Old 03-17-2006, 06:47 PM   #1
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    Let's talk sodium

    First off, how does sodium work? I know it is a salt. Secondly, what are healthy amounts of sodium per meal on a 3 meal a day diet for a person 140lbs? And are there good and bad sodiums? Any information on sodium please. Thanks.

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    Old 03-17-2006, 07:30 PM   #2
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    Re: Let's talk sodium

    Sodium is an element, like calcium, hydrogen, oxygen, or magnesium. So there's no "good" or "bad" sodium. There's only one element sodium. It can combine with other elements to make molecules. The chemical name for salt is sodium chloride, which means that salt is a molecule made up of one atom of sodium and one atom of chlorine. Another molecule that contains sodium is baking soda; sodium bicarbonate is one sodium atom and two carbon atoms. Your body does need sodium, but too much can raise your blood pressure.

    The RDA is less than 2400 mg per day (which is about a teaspoon). This includes sodium found in prepared foods, sodium used in cooking, and salt you put on your food. If you have high blood pressure, it is recommended that you consume less than 1500 mg per day. Note that both of these recommendations say "less than," meaning that you mostly are worried about going over that number, but going well under that number is fine. Becoming deficient in sodium is generally only a risk for people sweating a lot in hot weather and drinking only water (but no sports drink to replace the lost sodium from sweat).

    If you are looking to reduce your sodium intake, the best place to start may be to remove the salt shaker from the table. If you need some seasoning on your food, you can buy sodium-free seasoning mixes (Mrs. Dash, for example) to sprinkle on instead. Another big source of sodium is prepared foods, especially canned soups, frozen dinners, etc.

    Old 03-17-2006, 08:18 PM   #3
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    Re: Let's talk sodium

    A quibble: in the case of socium BIcarbonate, the "bi" means hydrogen and thus there is only one carbon...and a hydrogen. I know, it's counterintuitive.


    We need about 500 mg. sodium, more causes problems...and we can survive on less. The United Stated recommends LESS THAN 2400 mg. a day, the UK recommends less than 1600. But these numbers pay lip service to canned and prepared foods which overuse the stuff as a preservative.

    When you think about sodium from any source LESS IS BETTER!

    The body is made to preserve salt because it was historically rare in the diet. Too much must be diluted for safety and the dilution causes hypertension and edema and strains the kidneys.

    Old 03-17-2006, 09:11 PM   #4
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    Re: Let's talk sodium

    Ah yes... Good catch. It's been about 5 years since my last chem class... But I looked it up, so just in case anybody's wondering, the formula for sodium bicarbonate is NaHCO3.

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