For years, we’ve been hearing about the dangers of too much sodium in the diet. In salt-sensitive people, sodium can, in fact, raise blood pressure. (Though there’s no real test for salt sensitivity, it’s believed that about half the population is salt-sensitive.) Now new research shows there’s another reason to lower your sodium intake: It could be making you down excess sugar.

Researchers at St. George’s University of London studied 1,600 children aged 4-18. They found that those who had the most sodium in their diet also consumed the most sugary soft drinks. And they suggested that a reduction of two grams of salt per day (1,200 mg of sodium) would result in two fewer sodas consumed per week.

We’ve talked about the dangers of drinking soda before in ETR. If you need a refresher, check out Jon’s article on one long-term risk. One of the biggest problems is all the sugar they contain. And too much sugar is your ticket to obesity.)

The recommendation for sodium consumption is 2,400 mg or less per day – about six teaspoons. But many Americans consume the equivalent of 15-20 teaspoons, a whopping 6,000-8,000 mg of sodium! And most of it is coming from processed foods, canned goods – almost anything with a bar code.

Bottom line: Read the labels and reject anything with triple-digit sodium content per serving. Eat whole foods, and ease up on the salt shaker. When you do use salt, use Celtic sea salt, which is high in minerals.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Jonny Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. He’s the author of the new book The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. For more information, go to www.jonnybowden.com.]