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What's More Harmful? Sodium, Fat, Carbs?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Pete Incaviglia, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    So, I had a bit of a "scare" a couple weeks ago. Nothing more than heartburn combined with being exhausted (working fulltime and new baby and all). But it made me think.

    So, I started monitoring everything I eat. Made a huge change to my diet and eating habits.

    I'm logging EVERYTHING I eat. It's a bit of a project, but it keeps me going. And, if I may, I'm doing damn good.

    But I was wondering, when you're trying to eat healthy, lose weight, etc. which is more harmful: Sodium intake, fat intake or carbs? And, where do calories fall into all this?

    The thing I noticed is this: If you aren't a vegetarian, you cannot stay at or below the maximum recommended daily intake of sodium. It's in literally everything we eat. Everything.

    You want to eat bran to keep the heart healthy, you get salt in the cereal. You want to cut out fat in things like cheese or yogurt, sodium's still there.

    It's amazing.

    I find this site helpful: http://www.hpathy.com/healthtools/calories-need.asp and I'm right around or below the numbers this thing spits out and I feel friggin' great.

    But the sodium thing is killing me.
  2. Philosopher

    Philosopher Member

    My nutritionist tells me to focus on what she calls the "net carbs" because I'm focused on losing weight. She has me take the total grams of carbs and subtract the total grams of dietary fiber. 50 grams is the amount I want to eat for a meal, 25 grams for a snack. I get three meals and two snacks a day.

    There's a lot of other stuff she told me, but that's the best rough measuring stick she gave me.
  3. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Hmmm, having read that, I'm right around those numbers on a daily basis.

    I've really upped my dietary fiber.
  4. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    You eat 200 grams of carbs per day?
  5. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    My guess is simple carbs are the worst. Our bodies need sodium and fat. Complex carbs in moderation seem to be okay??
  6. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    There really isn't one answer for this...depends on your body and how you use it.

    Simple sugars are just poison..they have no nutritional value whatsoever. But in moderation, no big deal, IF your body can burn it up properly. If not, you get fat, tired, and sick.

    Sodium, fat....most people can handle them in moderation, but if you have a health issue, you might not be able to tolerate them at all.

    The one thing I know for sure is that protein takes longer to digest (so you're not hungry as soon), it requires more calories to digest, and it doesn't mess up your blood sugar so you're not getting cravings all day.

    Rather than counting calories, count what you're really eating. An apple is 70 calories, so are a few hershey's kisses. One has nutritional value, the other will make you hungry and tired. All calories aren't equal.

    About the sodium issue....what are you wanting to eat that you feel you can't?
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Interesting article on how the FDA is looking at regulating the sodium in processed foods:

  8. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    21 is correct. No one answer for this one. Calories are the most important consideration. But you really need to control all aspects of your diet for sustained, healthy weight loss. It takes time to adjust your diet. You'll get better and better at selecting foods as you move along. Just keep logging them. It's important.

    Those calculators that tell you how much to eat are an excellent tool. I eat much more protein than they suggest and a little less carbs. Otherwise, I follow them pretty closely. They are based, however, on your calories. That's the basis for the numbers. The default is 2,000 calories. You might need to slightly more or less depending on your situation. When you adjust the calories, you also adjust most of the other categories. The only ones that don't change are sodium and cholesterol. So, if you're eating more than 2,000 calories, you'll have to watch your sodium closely.

    For what it's worth, I've lost weight despite some higher than recommended sodium levels. To counteract high sodium levels, you can increase your water intake and flush it out.

    But I've worked on lowering the sodium. The best advice I can offer for that is to avoid processed foods. Eat fresh meat and fruits and veggies. Stay away from canned foods and processed lunch meat. I often fix chicken breast on the grill and save it for later. I do the same with pork chops, the lean variety.

    You can find some breads and cereals that are lower in sodium. Cheese, too. Just read the labels. Pasta sauces can hit you hard. So watch those. I just bought some fresh beans to replace the canned beans I use in my chili. I'm also thinking of making my own pasta sauces. Restaurant food is loaded with sodium. So avoid it as much as possible. But feel free to treat yourself now and then.

    You're going to eat about 2,400 mg of sodium a day. Just try to get that from about six different foods. Don't panic if you eat a high-sodium meal. It's all about balance over a series of days.

    Good luck. You'll be surprised how easy this is if you think of it as a long-term effort.

    PM me if you have questions.
  9. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Maybe a little off topic, but lately I've been trying to eliminate anything in my diet that contains high-fructose corn syrup. New nutritional motto: Eat fresh foods and, if not, read labels carefully!
  10. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I'm actually doing the same. I can't deal without having some sort of sauces on grilled chicken and such, but many brands have a lot less than others. I used to drown everything in Open Pit brand- the first ingredient being HFCS, but the off-brand has it way down on the ingredient list meaning there is a lot less.
  11. Philosopher

    Philosopher Member

    Roughly, yes. It's not as much as it sounds.

    "A person who eats approximately 2,000 calories per day should take in about about 250 grams of carbohydrates."

    From this link:

  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Might be fun to make your own (barbeque) sauces. I never realized how ubiquitous corn syrup is until I began looking for it on labels. I stopped drinking soda about 20 years ago so the toughest for me has been giving up my Skippy peanut butter.
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