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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a little problem of high blood pressure from time to time. Doctors in both UK and France have advised me to cut down on my salt (NaCl) intake. I've done this as best I can for some time, and when I cook I add little or no salt to the horrible mess that I'm making. One consequence is that I am can taste the salt levels in what I'm eating. If I eat too many biscuits apéros (rich in salt) I wake up at 4h00 in the morning with a thirst and very dry mouth.


I find that French cooking in general has higher levels of salt than the UK - although I've not done any real tests or analysed food labels etc. I have minor disagreements with my Fr wife when I see her adding (for me) a lot of salt to her cooking.

In the Uk for time to time there are calls by the medical profession to reduce the salt levels in cornflakes and other processed foods. Not so in France?

Does anyone share my view of salt levels in France, or am I just being pernickety and unnecessarily fussy.

....salt encrusted ...DejW
 

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I get the feeling that salt (or sodium) levels in processed foods are considerably lower here than in the US, in any event. With the big fuss in the US about offering "low salt" products, they have found that the salt is needed to make up for the poor quality primary ingredients used in bulk food processing - and that to maintain taste, it's necessary to use better quality (and thus more expensive) raw ingredients.

I admit that, back in the US, when I read the labels to see what is in various products, I'm amazed at all the additives, conservateurs and whatnot added to processed goods. Not sure if that's the case in the UK. But in the US, the ingredients may or may not include "salt" - what drives up the sodium content is all the unpronounceable additives meant to prolong shelf life. There seem to be fewer of those used here - though you do have to read the labels to be sure.

As far as your wife using (lots of) salt in her cooking, that's at least controllable. In some things (like bread) you have to use salt to control the chemical reactions in cooking. But otherwise, you can use herbs and spices to jazz up the taste without using salt per se. There's a nifty product in the US called Mrs. Dash, which is a salt substitute, made up of pepper, herbs and lemon crystals, which is actually quite good and can be used to perk up the flavor without adding any sodium. It may be available through the UK, but I have never found it (nor any other standard salt substitute - like "lemon pepper") here in France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I admire your existential sense of humour Bev. Do you really think a male Brit can control the cooking techniques of a French woman?

well fed....DejW


Bevdeforges;2408426[U said:
]....snip[/U].... .

As far as your wife using (lots of) salt in her cooking, that's at least controllable. In some....snip Cheers,
Bev
 

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Actually, as I should have mentioned, I find the medical establishment here far less likely to "interfere" with your food habits and preferences.

When DH had slightly elevated cholesterol results on one round of blood tests, he got a half-hearted recommendation that he should cut down a bit on charcuterie and maybe cheese (except that the doctor really LOVED cheese and really didn't want to tell anyone to cut back on it).

I got started on blood pressure pills last year and never a word was said about salt (of course my blood work all came back dead normal).

My DH (who does all the cooking) attributes this to eating "real food" rather than the processed stuff that is loaded with salt and sodium. Won't say we never eat processed foods, but if there is a choice, we make our own and I really think that makes a difference.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Just to remind you, Dej, I was hospitalised around 18 months ago with hyponatraemia (too little salt in my system). It was caused by drinking too much WATER, even tho' I tried to compensate by eating real food (not processed), cooked with a little salt, every day. Normally the only thing I add salt to is fresh tomatoes.

When we discussed my dietary habits at the hospital, the only element that had changed was that I'd cut out my daily beer and was drinking water instead - it was too hot even for beer. The very very nice doctor told me to get back on the beer pronto and not to waste my time drinking water!

h :)
 

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My Dad also had to reduce his salt intake - blood pressure and geriatric diabetes. In the UK, I found Potassium salt to replace Sodium salt for him - seemed to work, taste-wise, but I don't know if you can get it here. Your best bet might be to ask at the Pharma for a salt replacement, perhaps....
 

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I don't know if salt is salt is salt, diet wise, but since I discovered all the wonderful salts you can get from the salt producers round Noirmoutier and other places - salt crystals with herbs, spices, garlic, lavender, lemon, smoked etc - I never use the refined powdery white Saxa-type stuff any more. The salt crystals add flavour and don't really taste salty, so I kind of imagine that you can eat more. Bootiful stuff.
 

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The problem, ET, isn't salt (NaCl) as such, it's sodium (Na); what Dej needs is an alternative to the Na content to standard table/sea salt which will still give him the taste element, which is why I suggested Potassium salt.

Most of the flavoured salts you mention have NaCl as their base - and no, you can't eat more; the sodium is the "insidous killer" (unless, as in my case, you don't have enough 'cos you don't eat properly in the first place, ie you eat only natural, no additive, stuff without adding salt). It's a bit like not getting enough Vit.C and succumbing to scurvy ... or not enough calcium and getting rickets - but too much is also damaging.

h
 
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I can't believe I just posted all that stuff! I don't subscribe to sorcery and hocus-pocus and all that homeopathic nonsense; just learn to listen to your body ...

Oh hell, am getting more pagan by the minute; will shut up now.

hils
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Really? I knew today was going to be good!

DejW

I can't believe I just posted all that stuff! I don't subscribe to sorcery and hocus-pocus and all that homeopathic nonsense; just learn to listen to your body ...

Oh hell, am getting more pagan by the minute; will shut up now.

hils
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well actually, I have lost the appetite for salty food. I just don't like it very much, I don't want a substitute, not at all.

Of course, when it's hot and lots of perspiration flows you need salt to make for the salt losses in the sweat. After you get acclimatised you stop losing salt that way.

For those interested I remember being part of a large cadet party in the 1980s during a very hot period. The army doctor that we had assigned to us insisted on putting salt in the beer in mess for the staff.

Years ago in the UK there was the Nacne report into food health and salt came out as enemy no1 - it's everywhere. It's a bit like tobacco, you can't reduce the levels without outcries from both consumers and suppliers!

...and who remembers those little blue bags in Smiths Crisps? I loved finding the bags putting salt on my crisps when I was young; it fills me with horror now.

DejW

The problem, ET, isn't salt (NaCl) as such, it's sodium (Na); what Dej needs is an alternative to the Na content to standard table/sea salt which will still give him the taste element, which is why I suggested Potassium salt.

Most of the flavoured salts you mention have NaCl as their base - and no, you can't eat more; the sodium is the "insidous killer" (unless, as in my case, you don't have enough 'cos you don't eat properly in the first place, ie you eat only natural, no additive, stuff without adding salt). It's a bit like not getting enough Vit.C and succumbing to scurvy ... or not enough calcium and getting rickets - but too much is also damaging.

h
 

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...
...and who remembers those little blue bags in Smiths Crisps? I loved finding the bags putting salt on my crisps when I was young; it fills me with horror now.

DejW
At least, in those days, you had the choice of whether to add it or not!

& 's OK, Dej, I took it in jest - and there were no promises of how long I would shut up for ...;D
 
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Coming from a low salt consuming family, I was horrified by the amount of salt my MIL added to her cooking and even more horrified when everyone sat down at the table and shoveled on more salt. I stopped cooking with salt when I was first married and my husband never even noticed the difference. I have always found that North American restaurant food is very salty compared with French and British and I don't find French home cooking to be particularly salty - at least the folks I tend to dine with don't over salt food. I cut down on salt in most recipes and increase other spices to give flavour without the saltiness. Sometimes it is a bit of a balancing trick but it beats using salt substitutes which I think are worse in some ways than the real thing. IMO. Cheers! MS
 

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my best friend , a canadian hospital consultant , says you must control the salt in your system ...be sure to take enough in your food and drink

if you take too much ...not a problem ; your automatically control the salinity of your body to the level required and you will excrete the rest

who do you believe ?
 

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who do you believe ?
I'd like to think I'm not a gullible fool. I see so much focus on cholesterol when I don't believe it's always the bad guy it's said to be, and now, finally, there is starting to be serious discussion about it. It wasn't so long ago that eggs were evil, now they're not. Raw milk was unhealthy - perhaps more because of hygiene measures back then, now, clean organic raw milk is wanted by more and more people as they see the unpasteurised milk has good proteins and antibodies. We're bombarded with ads for antibacterial soap, wipes, floor cleaners, etc, and now that's being linked to more sensitvity to allergies as our exposure to all those bugs, along with our natural antibodies, are reduced.

Dairy generally was all bad, but views seem to be changing there too. Seems to me a lot of the established wisdom has often been based on a limited number of flawed studies, some done several decades ago, with vested interests often focusing on what they wanted, or were paid, to find.

Some say coconut oil is evil but some say it's great...I daresay "all things in moderation" is my guide, and I have to say I'm not too worried about salt. For heart disease I'm more concerned about inflammation than cholesterol, for many other things, the use of free-radical scavengers like astaxanthin or curcumin or vitamin D seems to help. In their original forms, people who have used these for centuries, whether Eskimos or Indians using ayervedic medicine, have seemingly had very good protection against heart disease or cancer for example.

So yes, who do you believe?

For salt, here's another point of view: Debunking The Salt Myth
 

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That report kind of bears out what I kind of instinctively knew already ...

But yes, we believe what it suits us to believe.

h ;)
 

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Very well said. In our lifetimes, we have been told not to eat butter, to eat only butter, not to eat meat, to eat meat three times a day, and so on! Moderation in all things! I just don't happen to like salty food very much. It makes me far too thirsty. That increases my consumption of wine which puts more euros into the French economy. So, perhaps to be a good citizen, I should use more salt! :) My life is difficult sometimes!
 

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Very well said. In our lifetimes, we have been told not to eat butter, to eat only butter, not to eat meat, to eat meat three times a day, and so on! Moderation in all things! I just don't happen to like salty food very much. It makes me far too thirsty. That increases my consumption of wine which puts more euros into the French economy. So, perhaps to be a good citizen, I should use more salt! :) My life is difficult sometimes!
You COULD just drink French bottled water (aka dinosaur pee, as my daughter would have it, but still putting shekels into the French economy), but that would dilute your body mineral balance, so you then have to eat more salt (sea salt from one of the many places around France, putting yet more shekels into the French economy) .... such dilemmas .... :D But you can sleep easy, knowing you're single-handedly keeping so many people in employment.

h x
 

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Well, if I increase my salt consumption and hence my wine consumption, I dare say I shall sleep easy even if the whole country is unemployed! Lol
 
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