Sugar vs. Salt: which is worse

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Over the years studying nutrition, it has become ever so clear to me that what we put into our mouths has probably the greatest influence on our health as any other threat in nature, including bacteria, viruses, genetics, etc. So I am often confused as to why so many people continue to eat junk, or feed their children junk foods and then often complain about why their children are not attentive or why their doctor has them on so many different medications. It would seem to me that the answer is obvious. Just replace the junk with foods from the earth and not foods manufactured by man.

Side note: Did you know that in America we produce over 70,000 chemicals, thousands of which are used in food manufacturing, and that companies legally dump these chemicals into our water supply? Worst yet, our local water municipalities only test your drinking water for 80 chemicals, many of which they don’t even know the side effects from?

But here in lies the problem: food manufacturers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to determine the exact percentages of salt, sugar, fat and chemicals to put into their food that will create a chemical imbalance in your brain and make you addicted to their food. Just think about the number of people in your inner circle of family and friends who state that they just can’t quit eating snacks, candy or drink soda (Sundrop anyone?), or who can’t quit alcohol or smoking or using drugs. Sugar, Salt, Fat & Food Chemicals ARE addictive.

When it comes to salt or sodium, sodium in and of itself is not harmful to one’s health. In fact, sodium is necessary for optimal health, well-being and fitness. It is an essential nutrient that must be obtained from food. The US government recommends that most people consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt/sodium daily. Even less for people suffering from Diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. Unfortunately, many Americans consume more than 3,400 mg of salt per day.

The FDA and the CDC state that more than 77% or Americans salt intake comes from packaged meals and restaurant foods. (Have you ever seen the Chew? A dash of salt looks a lot like 3 Tablespoons to me).

Less than 23% comes from naturally occurring sources like fruits and vegetables and the salt added during home cooking.

That being said, the quality of salt/sodium makes a huge difference to one’s health. Processed salts and table salts should be avoided whereas Sea salts and Himalayan salts, because of their vast array of other nutrients, are recommended.

So what about sugar? According to government health scientists, Americans should limit their sugar intake to less than 10% of total daily calories.

Sugar stimulates the release of the hormone Insulin. Insulin then carries the blood sugars to be converted into energy, which is a good thing. However, excess sugars in the diet forces our bodies to release excess amounts of insulin which in turn can lead to insulin resistance, fat storage, inflammation, accelerated aging, and a host of multiple chronic diseases.

Consuming fruits and vegetables which contain natural sugars is totally acceptable and considered part of a healthy diet in moderation. Aim for less than 50 grams per day (ideally less than 25 grams per day).

So what is the verdict? Is Salt or Sugar worse for your health?

Well, since they are both found in naturally occurring foods and considered part of a healthy diet, it would make sense not to completely eliminate either one. However, in my opinion, because sugar creates way more problems to human health than salt, I would eliminate sugars before I would salt.

At Stanly Wellness Center, we are eager and ready to help you and your families achieve your best health possible. If you are looking for help with your health or you know of someone who is suffering with poor health, call the office of Stanly Wellness Center at 980-355-7600 and schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Patrick Ess to see how he can help. Dr. Ess will not waste your time or money. He will let you know if he can help you, and if he can’t, who in the community can.​

Our office specializes in nutrition, detoxification and neurological correction. You can also refer to our website at for more information. We accept most major health insurances including BCBS, Aetna, Humana, UHC, Medicaid and Medicare.

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Patrick Ess
Dr. Patrick R. Ess grew up in Buffalo, NY. There, he attended Daemen College for his undergraduate studies in Natural Medicine. After which, he graduated in 2002 from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, NY, with a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Ess has treated thousands of patients and changed their lives with care. He believes in educating the patient so that they are better able to make informed decisions regarding their health.

Dr. Ess donates his time to the community by educating people of all ages on a variety of health, wellness, and safety issues. He teaches people how to avoid work injuries, stress maintenance, weight loss and promote healthy lifestyles.

Along with his 2 wonderful children - Tristen (16) and Sara (14), Dr. Ess enjoys cycling, hiking, swimming, drive-in movies, and other outdoor activities. Together they promote a healthy lifestyle with regular chiropractic care.