Shaking the Salt Habit

Shaking the Salt Habit

“Shaking the Salt Habit” The two most prominent
dietary risks for death and disability
in the world are not eating enough fruit
and eating too much salt. Too little fruit kills nearly
five million people every year, and too much salt
kills four million. There are three things
we can do to lower our
salt intake. First, don’t add salt
at the table. A third of us add
salt to our food before even tasting it! Number two: Stop adding
salt when cooking. At first the food
will taste bland. Two to four weeks later, however, as the sensitivity of
the salt taste receptors in the mouth become
more sensitive to the taste of salt in
the usual concentrations. Believe it or not
but after two weeks, you may actually
prefer the taste of food with less salt. Some of the flavorings you can use instead
in the meanwhile instead of salt include using more pepper,
onion, garlic, tomato, sweet peppers, basil, parsley,
thyme, celery, lime, chilli, nettle, rosemary, smoke flavor,
curry, coriander, and lemon. Even if you did add salt, though, it’s probably better
than eating out, where even at non-fast
food restaurants, they tend to
pile it on. And finally, avoid processed
foods that have salt added. In most countries only
about half of sodium intake comes from processed foods, so there’s more personal
responsibility, but in the U.S., even if we completely
stopped adding salt in the kitchen and
dining room, it would only bring down salt
intake a small fraction. This has led public
health commentators to note how challenging
it is then for everyone to reduce their
salt intake since so much of our sodium intake
is out of our control. But is it? We don’t have to buy all
those processed foods. We can choose not to turn
over our family’s health to food corporations
that may not have our best interests
at heart. If we do buy processed foods
there are two tricks we can use try to only buy foods
with fewer miligrams of sodium on the label than there
are grams in the serving size. So if it’s a 100 gram
serving size, it should have less than
100mg of sodium. Or, you can shoot for
fewer milligrams of sodium than there are calories. For example here the
sodium is 720; calories are 260. 720 is greater than 260,
so this has too much sodium. That’s a trick I learned from one of my favorite
dieticians of all time, Jeff Novick. The reason it works is
because most people get about 2,200 calories a day, so if everything you ate
had more calories than sodium you’d at least get under
2,300 milligrams of sodium upper limit for healthy
people under age 50. Of course, the healthiest foods
have no labels at all. We should also try to buy as
much fresh food as possible, as it is almost impossible
to come up with a diet consisting of unprocessed
natural foodstuffs that exceeds the strict
American Heart Association guidelines for sodium reduction.


  1. More incomplete information from Greger. Totally agree about the poor quality, refined table salt added to foods and especially the processed rubbish. Agree with the takeaway rubbish too – with excess refined salt added. Agree with using herbs and spices to flavour real food. The problem? Himalayan salt, celtic salt are good salts. What about people who intermittent fast for extended periods? What about exercising hard each day? What about folks using IR saunas daily? Healthy people also drink much water…. often with a bit of lemon and ginger. Green tea is healthy. The result? Expelling toxins via their urine…. along with minerals. Lost electrolytes are a real issue and for many HEALTHY people, good quality salts are actually lacking in their diet! In my opinion, Greger also severely underrates the importance of healthy fats/oils/saturated fats and all in all, I'd be very sick if I listened to much of his info.

  2. What about Himalayan Pink Salt? Is this also bad? Pink salt boasts 84+ minerals, balances body's ph and is 100% natural untreated. Thanks for your amazing videos 🙂

  3. on cronometer .com my sodium level often says i get around 33% of my recommend daily allowance should i add 1/4 tbsp to get it closer to 100% bit confused ?

  4. Dear Dr Gregor. I'm confused not about your information but what my son was told at hospital, he had a spell of fainting and was told to take salt to bring up his blood pressure and he stopped fainting. He also amended his overall diet to complete vegan, so my question is dose he needs it or not. And is Himalayan pink salt healthy or is it still salt and bad.? Thank you. I love your book. How not to die. Marion

  5. You never discuss the difference between refined table salt & other mineral dense salts. Why not? Surely this is a factor that should be considered.

  6. It's true that when you do not add salt you will eventually be able to taste more, I experienced this. It actually makes food taste better once you are off the salt. There are a lot of flavors that salt overpowers.

  7. I understand salt is bad for you but I can't give it up. I tried to eat some meals with no salt and it's just terrible. It makes me no longer enjoy eating healthy food. Salt is my only savior that I can rely on when the food tastes bland. I avoid animal foods, oils and sugar and eat as less processed as possible but salt….salt is basically my only guilty pleasure left. So basically, what's the point? I feel like giving up salt it's just not worth it. I think I eat healthy enough so that I can "afford" so to speak to include salt every now and then, right? Surely I am still way more healthy than people who don't care about health and eat whatever processed food they come across.

  8. I use Himalayan Pink sea salt liberally during cooking and at the dinner table.  I almost can't get enough salt.  Why?  Because the body REQUIRES salt to produce hydrochloric acid to keep your stomach acid strong to break down proteins.  That's just one benefit of salt.  How about all the other essential trace minerals in salt?  This guy, once again, is spreading misinformation in my humble opinion.

  9. I'm running into a raft of "new vegans" who are all touting how great (and even healthy?) the fake meats and processed vegan foods are. I tell them don't eat or recommend that stuff. Any short term gains for "saving animals" are compensated by human health loss, higher $$$ cost and the hypocrisy of owning up to fake foods and big agribiz, which do take more oil and energy to produce, and pollute more than simple, whole plant foods.

  10. I can definitely attest to this. I used to use quite a bit of salt, then stopped, and now I can hardly eat my mother's cooking as she always adds (what seems to me like) a ton of salt.
    I have been in the same state regarding sweetness during traveling (greatly reducing sweet foods and drinks), and upon returning home found the sweet things I used to have, too sweet.
    It's something you need to maintain, though; you can get used to the sweetness/saltiness again.

  11. I never add salt to anything. I don't even think we own table salt but I do have tortillas that have salt in them and I use Annie's ketchup which has some salt. I also really love braggs liquid aminos. are these things better replacements for adding salt to my food?

  12. And what about pink himalaya salt?? It supposed to be so healthy with so many good minerals … This is what I read lately 🙁

  13. Kinda missed an opportunity to expose how bad the normal table salt is to the body compared to natural sea salt/ Himalayan rock salt. If you want to keep adding a bit of salt to your body DON'T use table salt. Throw that shit away. Only the natural stuff has any benefit and use to your body.

  14. "Smoke flavor" is mentionned in this video; what's the verdict on that!? Aren't some of those bottles a little dodgy???

  15. That was totally me today haha I added salt to my pinto beans while I was cooking it, and then I stored them away for dinner later on. I took out and prepared my beans and added more salt before even tasting them like an idiot. Now I wish I didn't. So I just added more rice to my plate and less beans for sodium balance ^_^

  16. Just based on my own experiences, if ur diet is clean enough, salt isn't going to kill u. My gramma & gramps ate a traditional Korean diet all their life (rice 3x/day, veggies seasoned/pickled/cooked/fermented with loads of salt), very little animal products and they lived to 94 & 90 respectively. But I'd imagine that wouldn't have been possible if they ate a diet high in fat and meat.

  17. If you are getting too much sodium in your diet, you can balance and diminish the harm by increasing potassium

    eat more plants to balance the extra salt

  18. If one doesn't eat any animal seafood, no iodized salt additionally, how would you keep from getting goiter, without taking iodide pills? Seaweed? How unnatural or pharmaceutical does this have to be considering health?

  19. i just don't see why SALT its unhealthy.. I think the main reason it is bad is because it is always over used in BAD foods (pilsburry pizza pops??lol eww) but adding salt to a vegetable soup?? definitely not harmful..

  20. Himalayen, Celtic, Icelandic, Black lava, AKA rock/crystal/natural salts are perfectly safe for human consumption. Its just those white/processed/table salts that are extremely bad for us similar to white sugar. 1/4 – 1/2 a tsp a day gives the body most if not all the minerals it needs.

  21. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE between refined table salt (a sort of poison) and mineral dense salts like sea salt and himalaya salt. In Europe we use high quality salt traditionally as a medicine for people and animals.

  22. I've been adding fairly little salt to my food in the first place, but more recently I've been adding even less salt to my food. Now if I eat out or buy something like bread that often contains a lot of salt, it often ends up being too salty for my taste. That's the main reason I eat a lot less bread than I used to. For a while I baked my own, but the oven I have right now unfortunately isn't great for that. I'll be moving very soon though and I hope to pick it up again from there.

  23. Thank you, Dr. Greger for the simple tip of how to determine if the mgs of sodium are at a good range for the food item. This is information that I can and will use. A stroke of genius!

  24. hmm. this tasty cereal of mine here has: 55g serving size, 190 calories, and 170 mg sodium. (starts eating anyway)

  25. One has almost got to roll the eyes with this. Who is going to eat veggies without proper seasoning and a little fat I may add? They are almost unpalatable otherwise. That's why this sort of diet isn't going to go very far.

  26. So that's why I never understood why people add salt to almost every recipe; I don't add salt to anything, so my taste for sodium is probably more acute. Makes sense. It's good to know taste sensitivity can be regained as well.

  27. So I am going to kill these bags of tortilla chips and then do my best. I know its not the wisest choice but cant waste food right?

  28. Always seems to go back to the processed food. I don't cook with much salt and try to keep processed foods to a minimum and it seems to keep my sodium intake under control.

  29. I've been salt free for several months.  Also good salt replacements are dulse flakes, kelp granules and a product called Table Tasty. Table Tasty gives even a reformed salt addict like myself pleasure and there is no sodium, just all natural ingredients.  It's the best product I've found so far to replace salt.  After a month you really can taste the natural sodium in foods.  Spinach and celery are very salty veggies. Never noticed it until I let the salt go.

  30. I want to cut back on salt and plantbased fats. I want it to be easy and natural. I want my food to taste fabulous without them.

  31. "Studies actually show that the effects of sodium may follow a J-shaped curve. Too little and too much are both harmful, the sweet spot is somewhere in between":

  32. WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT…..I'm confused. I thought there was a problem with people not getting enough IODINE b/c everyone's been eating sea salt which isn't iodized. I just watched Dr. Greger's video on that and went out to buy a container of iodized salt. I don't eat processed foods (or very little) and don't eat out much, so I'm hoping this video is more for the standard person who has a high sodium intake..and not for me. Because otherwise, I am confused as hell 🙁

  33. ah! i needed this. i'm the person who always adds salt, but nooo. i've been cutting down, i can definitely do better though! thank you for this! ^_^

  34. What would you recommend for someone with low aldosterone? I wish I didn't need to add salt, but I'd be in the floor if I didn't.

  35. Fuck we should just all eat corrugated cardboard at this point. According to Gregor practically everything that tastes good is bad for you!

    Thankfully those that eat a strict plant based vegan diet only live a measly 7 years longer on average compared to someone that eat's whatever they want (assuming that they do not die from some other cause) according to Gregor!

    I think that a balance must be struck between eating healthy and eating foods that taste amazing that have healthy sea or Himalayan pink salt, healthy cold pressed oils, and possibly sugar in them .

    There's a reason that we crave sugar, sat, and healthy oils and even meat.

    I think the depression and dissatisfaction caused from not eating what your body tells you to and craves will take a bigger toll on ones overall health than the benefits that might come from say not adding salt, oil, and/or sugar to your food.

  36. I am on a low carb ketogenic vegan diet and my blood pressure gets way too low if I cut back on salt. I start feeling faint and I have to grab a cup of veggie broth. I eat predominantly whole vegetables foods and make sure to have adequate magnesium and potassium. ACV water and lemon water are regular parts of my day. I eat lots of leafy greens, avocados, olives, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, small amounts of nuts, non starchy vegetables, nutritional yeast, sprouted tofu in veggie broth, great quality coconut oil and olive oil, coconut cream, and a very minor amount of stevia. No processed crap, only berries, lemons, limes for fruit. I only add salt to my salads in the form of pink Himalayan salt. My BP today was 75/50 and my resting pulse was way too high at 98. I started this a month ago in an effort to get rid of my plantar fasciitis and it is working. Pain levels down from a 9 to a 1, but not completely alleviated. I eat some cooked veggies too like asparagus and lots of cauliflower and broccoli. My heart rate is way too fast though. It has been even when I was a high carb vegan and a more processed, higher protein vegan. I am a 50 year old woman, weight 154. 5'7". Super active, but not cardiac active. My old BP readings were around 100/70. Pulse 73….

  37. UP YOUR POTASSIUM if you like salt. It's all about balance! 5:1 ratio potassium to sodium. One banana doesn't cut it either. You need around 4700mg potassium each day and you can have some salt. Good quality salt, lots of healthy veggies too. Avocados are great, beet greens are highest in potassium, but who eats those? Acorn squash, kidney beans, and potatoes are good too. Look it up.

  38. Bread and cheese are two very rich sources of sodium in the American diet….two of the main staples in America! People don't realize if the drop the sodium out of their diets they will see huge changes within just a few days or a week. Most people will lose quickly 10 lbs of retained fluid by doing so.

  39. These studies are only looking at devitalized table salt. Huge difference between that and unrefined Himalayan or celtic salts, which have no such adverse affects and provide much needed trace minerals.

  40. what i hate about this is, that sodium is in everything, and tons of it! in one can of soup there is 1,300 mg of fucking sodium! The daily limit is 2,500 mgs. Being healthy is impossible. is there a way to lose sodium that you ate?

  41. I have HBP. I've shortened my intake to less than 3/4 tsp per day. I can already feel a difference after just a few days. My whole life I have always felt stressed and tense. Suddenly that feeling is almost gone completely.

  42. Salt intake has not changed in America in 40-50 years, yet hypertension has risen dramatically. Why is salt the demon? Salt is necessary for life! Natural sea salts are much better than the processed sodium in processed foods. 😀

  43. Seems there is a lot of research that shows that low salt is bad for health. It increases lipid production and reduces insulin sensitivity. The optimum salt intake seems to be at 5 grams of sodium per day. But there is more to sodium than just how much of it you eat.

    It seems to me the reason low salt is the advice is because people don't eat enough potassium. But in stead of suggesting to eat more whole food plants, they suggest to lower salt intake.

    Interestingly, for people on high carb low fat 100% plant based diets, there is a bit of another problem. Higher sodium intake results in the kidneys removing more sodium as well, and with that, calcium goes out as well. And on a high carb low fat plant based diet, you consume about 50% less calcium. Which would suggest reducing sodium intake is better. Potasium intake on 100% wfpb diets is usually not a problem, unless you don't eat a lot of vegetables.

    Another thing is that on a low carb high fat diet, the kidneys naturally get rid of more sodium. Also, on low carb high fat, sodium intake is lower because carbs tend to be combined with salt a lot. Low carb means low sodium as well, unless you add extra salt to your food.

    So what is the conclusion of all this?… Salt consumption can't be quantified in a healthy number. It depends big time on your whole diet.

    Either way, looking at this information, a focus on potassium intake should be more important than a focus on sodium intake.

  44. Everybody has bind spots. Dr. Greger is no exception.

    Avoiding salt is not necessary, if you are eating a whole food, plant based diet.

    By avoiding salt, Americans have lowered their iodine intake by about 50 percent.

    The healthiest, longest lived people in the world (Okinawans who eat their
    traditional diet) eat seaweed at EVERY MEAL and are estimated to get
    200,000 mcg of iodine every day of their adult lives.

    Dr David Brownstein is my iodine (and salt) hero. Here is a presentation he gave in 2011:

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