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What's Causing Rising Salt Intake? Pizza

What's Causing Rising Salt Intake? Pizza

A new study found that the biggest contributor of sodium from 2003 to 2008 was everyone's favorite cheesy bread

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pinpointed bread as the largest contributor of salt to America's diet, but a new study finds that ordinary dinner rolls aren't to be blamed. Instead, blame pizza.

Studies from researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle found that pizza was the leading source of sodium for 6 to 11 year olds, contributing 8.3 percent of intake. For teenagers 12 to 19 years old, pizza accounted for 10.3 percent of their sodium intake, while for adults 20 to 50, pizza accounted for 6.4 percent of sodium intake.

The next highest source of sodium? Yeast breads, followed by pasta and pasta dishes, and chicken dishes, the study found.

In terms of location, however, the study found that most of America's salt comes from food purchased in stores, whether they're raw ingredients or pre-prepared foods from grocery stores, surprising considering the emphasis put on fast-food consumption. Perhaps it's time to focus more on how we cook at home, and the salt-ridden canned foods we may buy?


The Problem with Salt for People with Tinnitus

By Barry Keate
Barry Keate, has lived with tinnitus over 40 years and has published 150+ research articles on numerous aspects of tinnitus. He is an expert on the condition and a well-known advocate for those with tinnitus.

Salt is essential for all animal life on earth. It is one of the oldest and most frequently used food seasonings and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. It is an essential nutrient and serves vital purposes in the human body. But what happens when we consume too much salt? And why should people with tinnitus pay particular attention to the amount of salt we eat? Here we will examine why excess salt consumption aggravates tinnitus and what we can do about it

First it will be helpful to understand how salt interacts with the human body.

Salt, in its normal form, is composed of sodium and chlorine, which combine to form sodium chloride, or NaCl. It is the sodium in salt with which we must be concerned. Sodium makes up 40% by weight of ordinary table salt. The World Health Organization recommends that adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. This equates to about 5 grams of salt, or a little less than one teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg per day. Most Americans consume over 3,400 mg of sodium every day! This has significant consequences for our health and for the management of tinnitus.

It is estimated the body requires less than 500 mg sodium per day to perform its functions, an amount much lower than what the average American consumes.

Sodium and the Kidneys

The body removes excess fluid by filtering the blood through the kidneys. Here the extra fluid is filtered out and sent to the bladder to be removed as urine. (1)

The kidneys use osmosis to do this. Osmosis is the process by which molecules move through a semi-permeable membrane to equalize pressure. This requires a delicate balance of sodium and potassium in the kidneys that facilitates the transfer of fluid from the blood to the kidneys.

High Blood Pressure and Hypertension

When salt is consumed in large quantities the amount of sodium in the bloodstream is raised and ruins the delicate balance with potassium. This reduces the ability of the kidneys to remove the fluid. The result is higher blood pressure (hypertension) due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the small blood vessels leading to the kidneys.

Over time, this extra strain can damage the kidneys and cause kidney disease. This reduces the kidneys ability to filter unwanted and toxic waste products, which then start to build up in the body.

People with high blood pressure are often treated with diuretic medications. This promotes the kidneys to remove more fluid from the bloodstream. Because excess sodium counteracts this effect, reducing salt intake will make blood pressure medication more effective.

Hypertension and Tinnitus

There is no doubt that increased sodium consumption leads to hearing loss and tinnitus. One study showed a clear and significant association between hypertension and a decrease in hearing. Hypertension is an accelerating factor of degeneration of the hearing apparatus during aging. This is called presbycusis. (2)

Excess sodium causes high blood pressure, which constricts the flow of blood and prevents adequate blood flow to the cochlea. Hypertension is a proven trigger of tinnitus and vertigo. (3)

People with Meniere’s disease are also required to reduce sodium intake. Although the root cause of Meniere’s remains unknown, symptoms are thought to be produced by an increase in fluid pressure in the inner ear. The primary treatment for Meniere’s is aggressive salt restriction, sometimes in combination with a diuretic, or water pill. Sodium intake should be reduced to less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. (4)

I know that if I eat a salty meal or have salty snacks, my tinnitus will immediately increase and stay elevated for several hours until my body processes the extra sodium and returns to balance.

Hypertension also leads to many other ailments, including an increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes in susceptible populations. One study clearly showed an association between hypertension and impaired cognitive function due to reduced blood flow to the brain. (5)

Sources of Sodium in Our Diet

The largest contributor to sodium consumption is not from the saltshaker on the dinner table. Approximately 77% of the sodium we eat comes from sodium added to processed foods and restaurant foods. Food manufacturers intentionally add salt to processed foods to prolong shelf life. Another 11% comes from cooking and table use and the rest is what is found naturally in foodstuffs. (6)

Pre-packaged and processed foods, breads and rolls, pizzas, cured meats and other packaged foods contain high levels of sodium. One can of soup can contain up to 940 mg of sodium, over half of the daily recommended intake!

The American Heart Association lists 6 common foods that are frequently eaten by Americans and are very high in sodium and which should be avoided. These include:

1 – Breads & Rolls,
2 – Cold Cuts & Cured Meats,
3 – Pizza,
4 – Processed Poultry,
5 – Soups,
6 – Sandwiches & Burgers

People with hypertension should stay away from pre-packaged and processed foods as much as possible. Whole foods, prepared at home, with little or no canned or packaged food is the best way to maintain healthy blood pressure.

Is Sea Salt or Kosher Salt Better for Tinnitus?

Sea salt is obtained directly from the evaporation of seawater. It is usually not processed or undergoes minimal processing so it retains trace levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and others. The crystals are substantially larger than refined table salt.

Table salt is mined from salt deposits and then processed to produce a fine texture so it can be easily used in recipes. Processing strips table salt of any minerals it may have and additives are usually added to prevent clumping or caking.

Sea salt has recently boomed in popularity in restaurants and grocery stores. Many people prefer it over table salt due to its coarse, crunchy texture and stronger flavor.

However, the difference in sodium content between sea salt, kosher salt and table salt is minimal. They are all sodium chloride and contain 40% sodium by weight.

Sea salt and kosher salt have larger crystal sizes than table salt so fewer crystals will fit in a teaspoon. Therefore, a teaspoon of sea or kosher salt may contain less sodium but sodium is the same percentage by weight.

Managing Potassium in Your Diet

We discussed earlier that balance between sodium and potassium in the kidneys is crucial to removing excess fluid and keeping blood pressure in a healthy range. It is possible to reduce some of the effect of too much sodium by consuming a diet high in potassium. The more potassium we eat, the more sodium we pass out of the body through urine. Potassium also helps relax blood pressure walls, thereby lowering blood pressure.

While most Americans consume more sodium than is good for them, we get much less potassium than we need. The recommended intake for an average adult is 4,700 mg per day. On average adult males consume 3,200 mg per day and females even less at 2,400 mg per day. (7)

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and milk products, whole-grain foods, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and unsalted nuts. These are all low sodium, high potassium foods and will help lower blood pressure.

It is possible to get too much potassium. Elderly people and those with kidney disorders are most susceptible to this. As we get older our kidneys become less able to remove potassium from the bloodstream. So talk to your healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter potassium supplement.

In the meantime, if you’re enjoying an evening TV program, munching down the chips and wondering why your ears are ringing so loud, it may be the chips. Try a banana or some dried apricots, both foods low in sodium and high in potassium.

1 – Blood Pressure UK http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/home/whysaltisbad/saltseffects

2 – Agarwal S, Mishra A, et al. Effects of Hypertension on Hearing, Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Dec 65(Suppl 3): 614-618.

3 – Yang P, Ma W, et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Association between Hypertension and Tinnitus. Int J Hypertens. 2015 2015: 583493.

4 – University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/programs/hearing/services/menieres-disease/

5 – Fujishima M, Ibayashi S, Fujii K, Mori S. Cerebral Blood Flow and Brain Function in Hypertension. Hypertens Res. 1995 June 18(2): 111-7.


Frozen pizza is apparently responsible for causing hypertension because it’s so salty

Sprinkling it on all your meals is a sure-fire way of sending your sodium intake above and beyond the daily recommended limit. And that’s a one-way street to Hypertension Central.

But the thing about salt is that, like sugar, it’s often included in huge quantities in most ready-made foods – even if you can’t taste it.

Biscuits, bread and cereals often contain way more salt than you might think, despite their sweetness.

It’s that heady mix of sweet and salt that make them so lip-smackingly delicious and addictive.

But according to experts, it’s frozen pizza that’s especially problematic when it comes to salt.

Blood Pressure UK says that eating too much salt is the biggest cause of high blood pressure and that adults shouldn’t eat more than 6g of it a day.

Hypertension affects more than one in four adults in the UK, and around 75% of our overall salt consumption comes from hidden salt sources.

Frozen pizza is one big culprit, apparently.

Experts from Healthline say: ‘All pizzas can be bad for people watching their sodium intake. The combination of cheese, cured meats, tomato sauce, and crust adds up to a lot of sodium. But frozen pizza is especially dangerous for people with hypertension.

‘To maintain flavour in the pizza once it’s been cooked, manufacturers often add a lot of salt. One serving of a frozen cheese or meat-and-cheese pizza can contain as much as 982 mg of sodium, sometimes even more.’

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And it’s bad news for all you stuffed crust lovers.

‘The thicker the crust and the most toppings you have, the higher your sodium number will climb.’

If you do love pizza, why not try making it yourself (which is bound to be slightly lighter) or opting for a vegan pizza without the cheese and meat during the week and save your meat-feast for the odd occasion? You don’t need to stop eating it altogether but it might be a good idea to cut down.

It’s also worth noting that the risk of hypertension is increased by a number of factors, including genetics, age, race, weight and smoking.

TLDR, eat frozen pizza in moderation and not as a regular weeknight dinner.


How to Prevent Swelling

One way is — you guessed it — reduce your intake of salt, both from the salt shaker and packaged and processed foods, which often include salt/sodium added both as a flavoring and as a preservative.

"Most prepared and canned foods contain a higher-than-desired salt content," Dr. Horovitz says. "Processed meats such as salami are clearly high." He points out that salt substitutes, such as potassium iodide, can substitute for salt, but don't taste quite as good.

According to Michigan Medicine, lifestyle tips that can help prevent swelling include:

  • Avoid sitting with your feet hanging for extended periods of time. Instead, elevate your feet when you can.
  • When traveling by car, make sure to stop and walk around at least every couple hours.
  • When traveling by plane, stand up and walk around at least every couple hours.
  • Exercise regularly. .
  • Take measures to keep your skin cool when it's hot outside.
  • Avoid excessively repetitive motions, but if unavoidable, take a break every so often to rest the body area being moved.
  • Follow the instructions for any medications you're taking. If a medication seems like it might be causing swelling, ask your doctor if taking it at a different time of day might avoid this.
  • Don't smoke cigarettes and other tobacco products as they can worsen circulation problems.
  • If you're pregnant or have a chronic medical condition, listen to your doctor's advice on how to prevent swelling. And call your doctor if you start experiencing it.

Foods That Can Lower Triglycerides

Some studies suggest that essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglyceride levels.   This type of fat is found in fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. If possible, aim to eat wild caught fatty fish at least twice a week.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in walnuts, flax seeds, canola oil, and foods made with soy. Fish oil or omega-3 supplements are also available and may be an excellent addition to your care regimen. Before supplementing though, you should consult with your doctor.

In addition, a balanced diet, rich in fibrous founds, such as vegetables can help lower triglyceride levels. Aim to get three-to-five servings of vegetables daily (one serving is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw).  


4) Almond flour pizza

Our final pizza option is the almond flour pizza base! This one is quite a rich base, but can be a fantastic option to reduce your carbohydrate intake for the day. Although this pizza recipe is low carb, the ground almonds are energy-dense. So, we recommend bulking this recipe out by serving it with a large side salad! We’ve had feedback that this base can taste a little sweeter than what you’d normally expect from a pizza base, so we’ve added a good dose of herbs and spices to counterbalance the sweeter flavours from the almonds.


Spaghetti Squash

It might not be exactly like thin crust pizza, but this spaghetti squash pie (plus just egg and seasoning), is super delicious. When you use a spaghetti squash instead of dough, your crust is not only going to be lower on the glycemic index — to keep your blood glucose levels steady — but spaghetti squash is also higher in micronutrients like vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium than bleached, white flour.

Get the recipe from Spaghetti Squash.


Your metabolism will slow down.

When you eat food, your body metabolizes it in order to digest, which burns energy. When we eat a high-protein diet, your body works harder than it would to metabolize fats or sugars, so that's why eating protein is always a good idea. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, eating a lot of saturated fats causes the body to slow down and not work as hard to metabolize the food you're consuming. When you eat foods like pizza, which consist almost entirely of saturated fats and sugars, your body doesn't have to work as hard because it's absorbed into our bloodstreams quickly. This can lead to more difficult calorie burning and weight loss, and no one wants that!


Spice It Up

Fresh herbs and spices add depth to the flavor in recipes. Use these as alternatives to salt when cooking. An added benefit is the antioxidant content in herbs and spices. Fresh thyme, rosemary or sage pair nicely for grilling or roasting chicken, fish and red meat. Substituting dill, chives and basil for salt to season vegetables will help reduce your sodium burden every day. Spices offer variety, giving your palate full flavor with no room to miss the salt. Include your favorite herbs and spices to experiment with substitutions for salt.


You need about 500 milligrams of salt every day for your body to function. Most people take in about 10 times that amount daily.   The recommended amount of salt for people with high blood pressure is about 1500 milligrams a day. Any reduction in your salt intake will help.

Processed foods use salt as an additive. Almost 80% of the average person's daily salt intake comes from processed foods.  If we ate only natural foods and limited the use of table salt, we would be able to eliminate excess salt in our diets.