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Could Reducing Salt Help Kids Lose Weight?


Could Reducing Salt Help Kids Lose Weight?

Studies suggest that children who eat salty snacks look for sugary drinks to wash them down. Researchers believe cutting down on salty snacks would help fight obesity.

Another study, this one in Australia, suggests a link between increased consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks to increased intake of salt in children’s diets. The link is important because the more sugar-laced beverages kids consume, the higher the risk for childhood obesity and its related health consequences.

Australians make a point: reduce salty foods, reduce weight

The new Australian study looked at data in a sample of 4,283 children collected through the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey along with interviews, both in person and by phone.

The researchers found that 62 percent of children in the study consumed sugary drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages included sodas, fruit drinks, flavoured mineral waters, sports drinks, and energy drinks.

What they also found was that the more salt children ate the more sugary drinks they drank. We all know that eating something salty makes us thirsty. But the fact that more children are satisfying their salt-induced thirst with sugar-laden drinks seems to be confirmed by the Australian researchers’ findings.

The Australian study also found that kids who had at least one sugar-sweetened drink each day were 26 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. And those who had more than one sugary drink per day were 34 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

Though the researchers were quick to acknowledge that the survey can’t confirm cause and effect, the study did conclude that “In addition to the known benefits of lowering blood pressure, salt reduction strategies may be useful in childhood obesity prevention efforts.”

UK researchers said it too: reduce salty foods, reduce weight

This comes after a UK study in 2007 analyzed data from almost 1,700 children in Great Britain and concluded that “salt intake is an important determinant of fluid and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption during childhood.”

The UK researchers also pointed out that “a reduction in salt intake would reduce sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption and, therefore, play an important role in helping to reduce childhood obesity and diabetes [that] have a beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease independent of and additive to the effect of salt reduction on blood pressure.”

Read labels of processed foods

Because salt intake isn’t just determined by the amount we shake onto our foods at the dinner table, reading the labels of processed foods (where the biggest salt culprits are found) is an important strategy in reducing the amount of salt we take in, which, among Canadians as Health Canada points out, is more than double the amount we need.

Check out the “Top 10 Salt-Containing Foods” to find out what you should be especially wary of when cruising the grocery aisles.

Better snacks—without all the salt

If you’re looking for a delicious snack without the salty after-effects, try our popcorn topping recipes that host a “World of Flavours.” Your kids will love washing the popcorn down with our Apple Lemonade or Wonderful Watermelon juices.



No Proof

No Proof

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD