Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Mrs. Sheela Paul,  
Dietitian, MVH

Salt is used to preserve food and to enhance its taste. There are many different types of salt. Cooking salt or table salt is a combination of the minerals sodium and chloride.  A gram of salt contains 400 mg sodium and 600 mg chloride. Sodium is both an electrolyte and mineral. It helps keep the water and electrolyte balance of the body. Sodium is also important for nerves and muscles to function well. The blood and lymph stream have most of the sodium in the body.

Most foods contain sodium naturally or added during cooking. The common food sources of sodium are table salt, baking soda, animal products (meat, milk and eggs) and preserves (pickles) & processed foods. Many medicines and other products also have sodium in them.

Sodium levels in the body are partly controlled by a hormone called aldosterone that tells the kidneys when to hold sodium in the body instead of passing it in the urine. Small amounts of sodium are also lost through the skin when you sweat.

Most people consume a lot of salt, much more than what is required by the body. This could be because they add a lot of salt to their food to enhance the taste or because they consume a lot of processed and instant foods.

Why we need to reduce the salt in our diet. 

A diet high in salt increases your chances of developing many health problems. Too much sodium in your system affects blood pressure levels and increases your risk of heart disease. 

People who are over 51 years old or have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic  kidney disease,  should consume less salt  to reduce sodium intake.

The estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake is 500mg-3000mg.  The minimum sodium intake is 500mg/day for healthy persons over 10 years. Sodium requirements vary with its losses through urine, faeces and sweat.  

Sodium intake has to be changed in certain disease conditions like renal disorders or cardiac failure to maintain water balance and prevent fluid over load and reduce hypertension. 

Diabetic mellitus
Patients with Diabetes should be encouraged to reduce their salt intake to 6 gm/day  
To prevent or treat hypertension, salt intake has to be regulated. For mild to moderate hypertension in people with diabetes, 6 gm/day of salt is recommended.                 

Ways to reduce sodium in the diet: 
Make the changes gradually so that your body gets time to adjust to lower sodium levels.

Make your plate colourful. 

Add 1- 2 cooked vegetables and a salad to your main meals. Fruits and vegetables provide minimal amounts of sodium. Fresh whole fruits, including pears, mangoes and apples, each provide fewer than 10 milligrams of salt, or 4 milligrams of sodium. You can also fill your plate with tomatoes, spinach, salad greens and carrots. These vegetables provide fewer than 100 milligrams of salt, or 40 milligrams of sodium, per serving. 

Eat Fresh

Avoid canned fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Eat less of chips, papads and pickles and be cautious of sauces and chutneys and peanut butter. They often have high sugar and salt content, which are used to preserve produce during bottling or canning.

Prepare your own paneer, sauces and salad dressings instead of buying them.

Cook Creatively

Using herbs, garlic, ginger, chilli, and lemon juice for flavour can help reduce the quantity of salt in cooking.

Have a Healthy Eating Plan   
Add an extra serving of vegetable cooked with no salt  at lunch and dinner and eat a fruit daily. Have more of fat- free and low – fat milk.

Be Aware of the Cooking Process   
Whole grains are naturally low in salt, but this can increase drastically due to cooking processes. For example a cup of brown rice cooked in water has 25 milligrams of salt, or 10 milligrams of sodium. However cooking this in chicken stock can double or triple the sodium content. 

A cup of popcorn has 3 grams of salt, or 1 gram of sodium, but the added butter and salt on the popped snack increases the salt content quite a lot. 

A slice of 100% whole-grain bread can have as much as 330 milligrams of salt, or 130 milligrams of sodium because of the added salt. 

A bowl of high fibre cereal with low-fat milk and fruit is a healthy way to start the day. However, check the package for sodium content too or your healthy meal could turn out to have high sodium. To avoid sodium in cereal, look for shredded wheat brands and plain oatmeal.

Salads provide the health benefits of greens and veggies. Also, a salad with dinner is filling. But be careful of the dressing which could be a source of high sodium in your diet.

Use Lean Meats and Seafood   

Lean meats and seafood are naturally low in salt. Skinless chicken, salmon and shellfish each provide less than 100 milligrams of sodium per 100g.  This amount is under 240 milligrams of salt. But be careful of the other ingredients added during cooking which might raise the sodium level.

Check Labels Carefully  

What’s on a food label? We can get a lot of information such as date marking, product name, net weight, ingredient list, nutrition information, usage instructions and manufacturer’s details. Many people check food labels for calories, fibre, and sugar and rarely look at the sodium content. Multiply sodium level by 2.5 to calculate the salt content.

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