S.O.S! The universal symbol for help! Also, the acronym for Salt, Oil and Sugar which as you will find out after reading this post just how ironic that is.
We are dying more and more every year due to our diets of excess. We consume way to much not only calorically but of certain substances as well. Autoimmune diseases, cancer, and chronic diseases were few and far between a couple decades ago and it wasn't until we started changing the nature of the food that we eat that disease starting rising. Over the last couple decades we have been on this craze of adding chemicals in the food which artificially stimulates dopamine production in our brain which makes food addictive. Food companies love this because it means we buy more and more of their products thus increasing their sales.
I always thought that the chemicals that people were talking about in junk food was things like MSG, artificial flavors, and red dye 40 and so I was shocked when I started learning that some of theses chemicals that they are talking about that are designed to get us hooked, addicted, fat and sick are salt, oil and sugar!!
Now I obviously knew that sugar was bad but salt and oil? I added that to all of my food and thought I was healthy, after all isn’t olive oil a huge part of the mediterranean diet? And what about pink himalayan salt? Doesn't my body need sodium and isn’t that stuff super good for you? I pay an arm and a leg for it at the store because I was told it was good for me!?
Well, if you’re just as confused and shocked as I was when I heard about SOS then your about to have your socks knocked off at the surprising ill effects these foods have on the body. Below I will talk about each one individually and why they are the culprit to many modern day diseases.
* I want to emphasize that having a little bit of SOS is not going to kill you, but I thinks it's crazy to step back and recognize just how much of these substances we are eating and notice how addicted we have become to them. This is what this post is intended to do, to educate us on these very common foods, what they do to the body and how they could be damaging our health.
Salt- when was the last time you had something savory WITHOUT salt? Probably never cause it's found in everything we buy and when we cook at home its the first ingredient we add. We love to add salt to our veggies, grains, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, dairy products, canned foods, crackers the list goes on and on. The CDC reported that 89% of adults and 90% of children exceed the daily recommendations for sodium, so I think it's safe to say that a lot of us are addicted to salt. Salt is very dangerous though as it increases our risk of stroke and coronary heart diseases and raises our blood pressure.
Wont I die without sodium? The human body does need sodium to function correctly but this sodium can be found in many plants and give us the correct amount that we need. If we eat too much sodium by putting salt in and on everything we burden our kidneys which leads to burn out making them unable to excrete sodium out of the body so it builds up in the system which leads to water retention, causing higher blood volume and thus more pressure on the heart and arteries.
What about natural pink salt? It may have a few more minerals than other salts but the sodium content is extremely high. If you can't fathom eating a meal with salt, I get it. I used to walk around with a mini salt shaker in my purse, not kidding here, I was 100% absolutely addicted to salt and I was able to stop so there's hope for you. It took awhile for my taste buds to adjust but once they did I was able to actually fully enjoy the taste of vegetables on their own and now I am super sensitive to salt and the meal will tastes nasty if I eat it. Remove salt and I promise you will begin to appreciate your food more.
Oil- when I say oil I mean coconut oil, flax oil, hemp oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and yes even our dear old friend olive oil. With all the keto talk out there many of us think that you NEED oil in order to be healthy after all people these days are downing all their food in this stuff and many are even putting it in their coffee!! But is it true, is oil good for us?
The first reason to watch out for oil is that it's a highly processed food. Oil comes from pressing the juice out of a plant which in essence takes away all the fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamins and leaves you with a processed, stropped down version of the plant. The oil that comes out is now not protected by the plant leaving it prone to becoming rancid through oxidation which leads to free radicals which damages our body and contributes to cancer.
The second reason is that its 100% fat. Only one tablespoon of oil contains about 120 calories and is very easy to over-consume. It's easy to stop eating avocado, a natural occurring fat, but oil is wuite a bit harder to regulate especially when its in things like crackers or cookies. Fat is needed in the body but not this stripped down version that slows down circulation in the body, damages our arteries, contributes to insulin resistance and causes our red blood cells to clump up which limits their ability to absorb and deliver o2 to our cells. The National Institutes of Health even found that oil suppresses your immune system which makes us vulnerable to infections and impairs our bodies ability to stop the growth of cancer cell.
Dr. Esselstyn one of the top medical professionals who has studied and devoted his life to heart disease has made it clear that oil does not belong in the human diet. He found that by taking oil out of his patients diets they were able to repair and reverse their heart disease! This is insane, as heart disease is the number 1 killer in the US ! If you want to stay away from the operating table then time to learn new ways to cook without oil. The best, healthiest way to do so is by steaming.
Again your taste buds will adjust and you will how fresh everything tastes when its not friend in a bunch of oil!
Sugar- We all know that sugar is highly addictive and not good for us and yet just like with salt Americans on average are eating WAY to much of it! First let's get one thing out of the way. When I say sugar iI'm by no means talking about fruit. Fruit comes with plenty of fiber and nutrients which make it a healthy, wholesome food to eat. The sugar I 'm talking about is the sugar that is refined, processed and stripped from the plant. This can be either good old fashioned white sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup, barley malt, beet sugar, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup and yes even brown sugar. Fun fact, did you know that there are 56 different names for sugar? It hides itself pretty easily in our food supply.
This substance is one that we really should watch out for because it's found in abundance in our food supply.
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there . Our bodies love sweet things, both physically and mentally, so its hard to resist that cookie on the counter. In fact did you know that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine? No wonder you can't stop your late night ice cream habit, you're literally chemically addicted to it and will go through withdrawal symptoms if you don't get your fix!
Sugar is also an anti-nutrient meaning that it not only has no nutrients but it steals the nutrients from you body! AHHH... GASP… someone call the police, we got a thief on the run!! And it's stealing from your bones, blood and cells! Its also contributing to fatty liver disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, unregulated cell growth (cancer), yeast, acne, hormone imbalances, mood imbalances (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder etc) and so much more. For all the negative effects this substance has its insane when you look at the stats and see that total consumption of sugar in a year for an adult is around 96 pounds!!
Taking out sugar doesn't mean you are swearing off all desserts or treats, you can use natural things like dates, honey, bananas, applesauce , maple syrup and fruit to naturally sweeten your dishes and prepare desserts. It's the refined, processed, chemically stripped form of sugar that we want to try and avoid, not the necessary glucose that our body runs on.
If your still thinking, “ Nope, sorry can’t do it”, I fully understand, these things are hard to give up but that just proves to you how addicted we are to them and all the more reason for us to make improvements and at least start to limit your intake of these substances. Due to their addictive nature though I have found it to be really hard for me to “limit” my intake of these things and each time I do eat something with either salt, sugar or oil I am messing up with the retraining of my tastes buds. If you want to succeed at doing this then I recommend going cold turkey. It may suck for a week or two but it’s smooth sailing from there. It's worth it in the end because these foods really are affecting our health and we gotta start monitoring how much of it we are eating.
Last note, something crazy about these isolated food products are that they dull our taste buds so that when we don’t have them in a meal we find the food bland, and less satiating as before which makes us eat more of this stuff so that our food can taste good to us. After time away from these substances our taste buds can get unhooked and loving fresh food again thus making it easy to stick to a wholesome diet and easy to achieve our weight goals.
Many S.O.S recipes to come my friends!
Therapeutic Nutrition Counselor
Certified Eating Psychologist
BS Public Health