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Old 01-09-2012, 04:49 PM   #21
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I love to eat salty things so am a bit biased towards the salt-is-OK school of thought. But I'm willing to be swayed the other way. Is salt really bad for you in moderate doses?

As I understand it there are some links to high salt intake and blood pressure. But is there any conclusive studies out there? Do individual tolerances for salt intake vary a lot?
Here's my recent thinking on this. In the past I cut way down on salt for a while, and saw that it had no effect on my blood pressure.

But I've been reading some articles that suggest it is the ratio of potassium to sodium that is important.

Study: Sodium-to-potassium ratio a key to heart health - Los Angeles Times

Potassium - to - Sodium Ratio Affects Overall Health Part 2: Imbalance Often Leads to Hypertension

From the second article:
Passwater: When people say, "I am not concerned about salt because I am not salt-sensitive" or "I can eat all the potato chips I want, and my blood pressure doesn't change; therefore, salt is no problem for me," are they missing the boat?
Moore: Absolutely. It is not simply a question of blood pressure. People can have normal blood pressure and still have serious metabolic problems that result from this potassium-sodium imbalance. In turn, these metabolic problems can lead to any of more than 10 diseases, including osteoporosis, asthma, kidney disease, kidney stones, mental decline, stomach cancer, ulcers and others.

So I am currently evaluating whether increasing potassium and decreasing sodium will make a difference.

The painless part of this is that this kind of "salt," potassium salt,



tastes just like regular salt to me. So I use that instead, and it's a win-win. I put lots on my eggs. It's much cheaper than potassium supplements, and I think it's unlikely that I'll get too much. Note: I don't do bananas.

I also add 1/8 tsp of this stuff to my smoothies and they taste better than with no salt.

I may even take some bacon, soak it in water, then brine it with this stuff.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:37 PM   #22
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I may even take some bacon, soak it in water, then brine it with this stuff.
You may be soaking out a lot more than salt. A more direct approach (though it occurs to me that direct is perhaps not what you are interested in) would be to buy side meat, which is pork belly sliced exactly the same as thick-sliced bacon, but fresh-ie, uncured. It won't ever taste like bacon, but you could even smoke it if you wanted to. I used to see fresh ham slices, my Dad ate it all the time. But I haven't seen it in a long while around here anyway.

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Old 01-09-2012, 09:10 PM   #23
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Al, thanks for the info. I actually skimmed the articles and have concluded I'm probably low risk. Most of the concern is about cardiovascular disease and my running >20 miles/week helps plus healthy Mediterranean type diet helps. Could go on about this but who cares about my case except me.

Will try to up my banana intake in mornings. Problem is bananas are on the "high flatulence" list.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:32 PM   #24
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You may be soaking out a lot more than salt.
Ha
Agreed, the nitrates(nitrites?) and the curing process are part of what makes bacon bacon.

Along those lines, we bought 1# of ground pork for a dinner recipe that called for 1/2#. I took the other 1/2#, added 3/4 tsp sage, just 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp Brown Sugar, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, and 1/8 tsp Cayenne. Mixed and made 4 patties and pan fried them. A little spicy, I'd up the sage and cut down the peppers next time. But very easy and has that 'breakfast sausage' taste, w/o much salt and no nitrates/nitrites (I forget which is used in curing). Good fresh breakfast sausage might be more satisfying than some kind of watered down bacon?


NOTE: If you want to freeze these, cook them first. I recall an Americas Test Kitchen episode - in the freezer, cooked sausage won't go rancid as fast as fresh sausage.

-ERD50
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:56 AM   #25
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Oh boy, one of the great things in the USA is our bacon - can't get the good stuff over here in Germany - they just do pork differently. LOVE bacon - salty, crunchy, greasy, meaty goodness :-)
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:20 AM   #26
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Cardboard bacon? Did it come from Azerbaijan?
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #27
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Note: I don't do bananas.
Bananas is good!

Btw, potatoes are high in potassium as well...
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:32 PM   #28
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I discovered the same thing happens with baloney. I'm surprised because I would have thought the salt was deep inside. it tastes pretty bad, even when resalted with KCl. It shows you how little taste the meat itself has.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #29
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Here's my recent thinking on this. In the past I cut way down on salt for a while, and saw that it had no effect on my blood pressure.

But I've been reading some articles that suggest it is the ratio of potassium to sodium that is important.

So I am currently evaluating whether increasing potassium and decreasing sodium will make a difference.

After nine days of lower sodium, and higher potassium, I have seen no change in my blood pressure. If something were going to happen, I think it would have happened by now, right?
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:35 AM   #30
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Agreed, the nitrates(nitrites?) and the curing process are part of what makes bacon bacon.

Along those lines, we bought 1# of ground pork for a dinner recipe that called for 1/2#. I took the other 1/2#, added 3/4 tsp sage, just 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp Brown Sugar, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, and 1/8 tsp Cayenne. Mixed and made 4 patties and pan fried them. A little spicy, I'd up the sage and cut down the peppers next time. But very easy and has that 'breakfast sausage' taste, w/o much salt and no nitrates/nitrites (I forget which is used in curing).
-ERD50
Don't want to burst your bacon bubble but, ERD is right, it's the nitrites that are most unhealthy. They're a known carcinogen, which is why there used to be (maybe still is) an area in eastern North Carolina called 'the cancer belt.'. Everyone there ate tons of cured pork in everything; bacon, fat back, country ham, etc.

Not that I don't eat bacon, I do. But, my argument is moderation, not that it's good for me.

Al-please pass the bacon.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:04 AM   #31
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After nine days of lower sodium, and higher potassium, I have seen no change in my blood pressure. If something were going to happen, I think it would have happened by now, right?
I'm no expert on BP but if it were that simple wouldn't it be known? It would be easy to do a controlled test over such a short time period as you've demo'd.

My BP varies quite a bit during a day. Never could find an obvious correlation to activities or diet. I just test once/month and record in a spreadsheet.

What I monitor is the 12 month moving average. My doc seems to consider diastolic the key. Mine has been moving down into normal territory. Must be those bananas.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:04 PM   #32
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Don't want to burst your bacon bubble but, ERD is right, it's the nitrites that are most unhealthy. They're a known carcinogen, which is why there used to be (maybe still is) an area in eastern North Carolina called 'the cancer belt.'. Everyone there ate tons of cured pork in everything; bacon, fat back, country ham, etc.

Not that I don't eat bacon, I do. But, my argument is moderation, not that it's good for me.
I've been concerned about that, but every time I've researched this, I've concluded that it's not clear-cut, and the concerns are a bit overblown.
It has been reported that people normally consume more nitrates from their vegetable intake than from the cured meat products they eat. Spinach, beets, radishes, celery, and cabbages are among the vegetables that generally contain very high concentrations of nitrates (J. Food Sci., 52:1632). The nitrate content of vegetables is affected by maturity, soil conditions, fertilizer, variety, etc. It has been estimated that 10 percent of the human exposure to nitrite in the digestive tract comes from cured meats and 90 percent comes from vegetables and other sources. Nitrates can be reduced to nitrites by certain microorganisms present in foods and in the gastrointestinal tract.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:27 PM   #33
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Exactly why I try to ignore virtually all the CW about diet.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:30 PM   #34
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Exactly why I try to ignore virtually all the CW about diet.
Let's see, USA polite conversational subjects are:
1) weather
2) diet
3) sports

Do you realize you've severally limited your cocktail chatter topics?
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:35 PM   #35
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Yep, as with all things somewhat uncertain, the source of the info is important. This article captures the issue well I think. Processed meat consumption and stomach ca... [J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI

My take is that both nitrite and overconsumption of processed meat contribute to the patterns of gastrointestinal cancer.

Again, all things in moderation.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:24 PM   #36
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I make my own bacon. Cured for 3 days, smoked for 3 days then chilled, sliced and vacuum sealed.





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Old 01-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #37
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Is that shoulder?
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:11 PM   #38
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Is that shoulder?
This type of bacon is called Buck Board Bacon.

Yes, shoulder. Also called Pork Butt. (To me the butt is the ham, back leg. This is the front leg; shoulder)

I get 'em from Costco boned and ready for curing for about $1.29 a pound. I cure with my own mix of spices and Morton's sugar cure. Wet cure, not dry cure. (I'm not brave enough to trust I won't kill myself with some sort of listeria or other bacteria borne illness.)
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #39
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Yep, as with all things somewhat uncertain, the source of the info is important. This article captures the issue well I think. Processed meat consumption and stomach ca... [J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI

My take is that both nitrite and overconsumption of processed meat contribute to the patterns of gastrointestinal cancer.

Again, all things in moderation.
I agree that it's a scary thing, and it concerns me. However those studies have the usual flaw. For years we've been told that bacon is unhealthy. So, who eats more bacon, the obese, sedentary smoker or the Palo Alto pilates housewife? You can't control for that unless you do an experiment, and that's not feasible.

As the study says: "However, the possibility that the association may be confounded or modified by other factors cannot be ruled out."
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:46 PM   #40
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I agree that it's a scary thing, and it concerns me. However those studies have the usual flaw. For years we've been told that bacon is unhealthy. So, who eats more bacon, the obese, sedentary smoker or the Palo Alto pilates housewife? You can't control for that unless you do an experiment, and that's not feasible.

As the study says: "However, the possibility that the association may be confounded or modified by other factors cannot be ruled out."
But how important is bacon to you? Especially with the sodium concern on top of any other concerns that may, or may not, exist. IMO the sodium evidence is pretty good. I've replaced bacon with side meat (uncured pork belly) with KCL and coarse black pepper and sometimes red pepper flakes rubbed in. I fry it slowly. It takes a bit longer than microwaved bacon, but to me tastes even better as I no longer enjoy the extreme saltiness of bacon.

Ha
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