A salt-free diet aims to completely eliminate this condiment from your diet. Why deprive yourself of salt? Who is this diet for? What foods are prohibited and what foods are allowed? What are the disadvantages of a salt-free diet? Explanations from Magali Cros-Roig, dietitian-nutritionist.
Sodium is an essential mineral for the body. It fulfills many functions: it participates in particular in the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and maintaining water balance. In nutrition, it is naturally present in many foods but it can also be added to your dishes. It is then in the form of sodium chloride (NaCl), more commonly called “table salt”. However, it should not be abused. On a daily basis, the World Health Organization recommends not consuming more than 5 g of salt per day, 2 g for children1. According to ANSES, excess salt consumption is “recognized as one of the risk factors for high blood pressure and therefore cardiovascular disease“stroke and heart attack type2.
What is a salt-free diet?
Under this name, there is not one, but three regimes. “We find the strict salt-free diet, that is to say which completely excludes salt from the daily diet: it is rare today and must be medically justifiedexplains Magali Cros-Roig. The moderate salt-free diet, also called the “low-salt” or “low-salt diet” allows reduced salt consumption, and the “large” salt-free diet consists of normally salting your food when preparing the meal, but at do not resalt your dish at the table and avoid bread“.
When should you adopt a salt-free diet?
Following a salt-free diet is rare, with doctors preferring a low-salt diet. “However, the salt-free diet can still be prescribed for very specific pathologiesexplains Magali Cros-Roig. This is particularly the case in cases of kidney failure, heart failure and severe liver failure, as well as during treatment with Cortisone, to reduce the risk of water retention due to this medication.“.
What are the benefits of a salt-free diet?
By prescribing a salt-free diet, the doctor seeks to reduce the quantity of water stored by the body (because salt promotes water retention). This will allow, depending on the patient’s state of health:
- To reduce blood pressure because if there is less water in the body, the blood volume will reduce and the pressure on the arteries will be less;
- To reduce edema and thus allow other organs, the heart, kidneys and liver, to have less effort to make to make the body function normally.
What foods are prohibited on a salt-free diet?
When following a strictly salt-free diet, foods that are sources of sodium should be eliminated from the daily diet. These include table salt and its derivatives (fleur de sel, celery salt, etc.), cold meats, cheese, smoked meats and fish, seafood, fish eggs, bread, salted butter, industrial preparations such as aperitif biscuits, rusks, ready meals, pizzas, store-bought sauces, preserves, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, stock cubes, as well as olives and pickles. As for drinks, avoid mineral waters rich in sodium, such as St Yorre, Badoit, Vichy Célestin…
“Even sweet products can contain salt, says Magali Cros-Roig. “This is the case for pastries, cakes, canned fruits in syrup…”.
Look carefully at the composition of the products.
Even salting the cooking water for rice or pasta, for example, is prohibited.
What foods are allowed on a salt-free diet?
Among the authorized foods are:Most permitted foods are in fact raw, unprocessed, home-cooked products. notes our expert. Thus, fruits, vegetables, dairy products such as yogurts, cottage cheeses and skyrs, starchy foods and legumes (provided they are cooked in unsalted water)… are among the authorized foods. For bread, the alternative is to prepare it at home or order it without salt from your baker. As for cheese, some exist without salt.
Finally, for drinks, choose mineral waters low in sodium, some of which are labeled “suitable for a low sodium diet“: Hépar, Contrex, Vittel, Courmayeur, Thonon, Evian for still waters, and Salvetat and Perrier for sparkling waters. “To add flavor to your dishes, it is possible to replace table salt with potassium salt, a product now available on prescription, or to replace this condiment with herbs (garlic, onion, shallots, etc.), herbs ( parsley, dill, chives, basil, etc.) and spices (pepper, paprika, etc.)”recommends the dietician.
Does a salt-free diet make you lose weight?
A salt-free diet is not intended to make you lose weight. “Especially since the consumption of this condiment has no effect on fat”, remarks Magali Cros-Roig. However, reducing your consumption of salty foods has an impact on reducing water retention in the body: by promoting the disappearance of edema, reducing your salt consumption helps to “deflate” the body.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
What are the disadvantages of a salt-free diet?
On the one hand, it is not easy to follow because many foods contain salt. In addition, sodium is a mineral that the body needs to function well: a lack of sodium in the blood can cause drops in blood pressure. “In addition, high or prolonged sodium deficiency can lead to impaired nervous system functions, dehydration, inappetence, muscle weakness and hypotension..