Too Much Sugar? Cut the Salt

By Lisa Marshall

American teens drink an average of two 12-ounce soft drinks every day, which makes up 43 percent of their daily recommended intake of sugar. What’s worse, these same kids get one-third of their daily calories from nutrient-poor snack foods loaded with sodium, preservatives—and more sugar. A recent study suggests you may be able to kill both of these bad-food birds with one stone. Researchers found that cutting salt consumption in half led kids to drink two fewer sweet drinks a week, knocking off 61 grams of sugar and 250 calories. If every kid did this, childhood obesity rates would plummet 15 percent, say researchers. Even better: The kids would also keep their blood pressure in check, reducing their chances of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Why not just tell our teens to go easy on the soda? Good luck with that! Instead, simply (and slyly) cut back on the salt, which may have the same impact without the battle. “Among all the dietary changes to try,” note the authors, “reducing salt is the easiest to make because it can be done without the individual’s knowledge.”

So hide the saltshaker and steer clear of packaged foods loaded with salt.