This 1 Common Dining Habit Could Be Upping Your Diabetes Risk

But there are great alternatives.

It’s used for seasoning, garnishing, and to add a little pizazz to otherwise dull dishes but according to new research from Tulane University, high salt consumption can put you at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise globally, with research published in 2020 reporting that 462 million people were affected by Type 2 diabetes.

Those at risk of developing the disease such as adults over 45 and obese people are advised to reduce sugar intake, exercise more often and have a balanced diet. However, the research from Tulane University highlights that reducing salt consumption could prevent onset of the disease, too.

A high-salt diet could increase Type 2 diabetes risk

The study, published on November 1st, surveyed over 400,000 adults registered in the UK Biobank about their salt intake. Over a median of 11.8 years of follow up, more than 13,000 cases of Type 2 diabetes developed among participants.

Compared to those who “never” or “rarely” used salt, participants who “sometimes,” “usually,” or “always” added salt had a respective 13%, 20%, and 39% higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In a press release about the research, lead author Dr. Lu Qi said, “we already know that limiting salt can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, but this study shows for the first time that taking the saltshaker off the table can help prevent Type 2 diabetes as well”.

The researchers state that further research is needed to determine why a higher salt intake could be linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes but Qi believes that salt encourages people to eat larger portions which in turn increases chances of developing Type 2 diabetes risk factors such as obesity and inflammation.

Researchers also note that an association was found between frequent consumption of salt and higher BMI.

Qi urges people to look for low-sodium options for seasoning their favourite foods and said, “It’s not a difficult change to make, but it could have a tremendous impact on your health”.

Low sodium alternatives to salt

The British Heart Foundation have written a guide to the best alternatives to salt for seasoning foods, including:

  • Mint, which is ideal for salads, pasta dishes and with carrots, broad beans and peas
  • Rosemary, which adds an aromatic seasoning to roasted or grilled meats, bread, homemade pizza, tomato sauces, potatoes or egg dishes
  • Nutmeg which is a great salt alternative in white and cheese sauces and hearty vegetable soups
  • Chives add a delicious, mild flavouring to casseroles, salads, baked potatoes, low-fat cream cheese, fish and poultry
  • Oregano, which adds a slightly aromatic, mildly bitter taste to Mediterranean dishes and is ideal for marinating meats, poultry, and seafood

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