This week, I received the following question from .

I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.  Some one suggested I try “Original No Salt” which is Sodium-free instead of salt.  Is it a safe alternative for my use?

Watching your sodium intake is very important those with high blood pressure. Using a salt substitute is one option, however you should consider several factors first. Salt substitutes such as “Original No Salt” contain potassium-chloride, instead of sodium choloride. If you have any sort of kidney problems, this can be detrimental to you. Those with impaired kidney function (which occurs in those with diabetes)  have difficulty excreting potassium, and it can build up to toxic levels in the body.  You should also check with your doctor to see if any of your medications may interact when consuming extra potassium.

If you have no kidney problems or are not on any medications that will interact, salt substitutes are safe and are a good alternative to salt.  A problem with salt substitutes is they have a weaker taste, and you can end up using an excess amount trying to season your meal. Salt is actually an acquired taste, so once you get used to having less of it, your taste buds adjust. You will begin to appreciate the true flavors of food that can be masked by excess salt. Not to mention, your blood pressure will thank you.

The recommended amount of salt each day is 2,300mg, or about 1 teaspoon’s worth. Watch out for hidden sources of salt that are found in convenience foods. For example, frozen meals can contain over 1000mg on their own, so make sure you read nutrition labels for sodium content.

Use salt substititutes in moderation, and replace salt with other seasoings as well, such as with herbs, pepper, lemon juice, or a teaspoon of  olive oil.