Will Increased Salt Cause a Diabetic's Blood Sugar to Go Up?

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health concerns in our nation. In 2010, an estimated 18.8 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes and another 7 million were considered "prediabetic," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are a diabetic you are also at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health complications. Learning what foods will raise blood sugar is an important first step in managing your diabetes.

A blood sugar chart, meter, syringe and test strips. (Image: ratmaner/iStock/Getty Images)

Foods and Blood Sugar.

Food is divided into three categories -- proteins, fats and carbohydrates -- that provide us with calories and energy. Our bodies need all of these nutrients to function properly. However, carbohydrates are the only sources that have a direct effect on blood sugar.

Salt

In addition to providing us with energy, food also provides us with vitamins and minerals. Salt is considered a mineral, and while it has many functions in the body, it does not have an effect on blood sugar. However, eating a salty food such as pretzels or potato chips may raise your blood sugar because these foods contain starch – or carbohydrate. But it is the carbohydrate that is raising your blood sugar, not the salt.

Carbohydrates

Any food that has starch, sugar or fiber may be considered a carbohydrate. This would include foods such as rice, bread, pasta, crackers, natural sugars such as those in fruit, and added sugars such as those in desserts. Any type of carbohydrate will raise your blood sugar.

Blood Pressure

While salt does not raise our blood sugar, too much salt can raise your blood pressure. A person with diabetes should work to keep his blood pressure at 130/80 or lower. This will help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other complications. When you make healthy meal choices you can help control your diabetes and overall state of health.

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