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Would you be Paleo if you had to give up salt?

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Updated June 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Created June 14, 2014 at 4:19 AM

Why is it ok to have salt while on a Paleo diet? I even see questions like "which salt should I have? Himalayan, Black or Sea?" Did stone age people really collect and use salt? Which cultures? I'd love to know that a hunter gatherer culture did that, but I haven't yet found an example.

I'm not an archaeologist, but I suspect that stone age people didn't use salt on food and the fad of using it is a palliative to make the diet more acceptable to people. Wasn't salting food in Europe a middle ages thing due to the silk road? I thought I recalled something about that in history class, but I could've been goofing off. Would you be Paleo if you had to give up salt?

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26002 · June 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM

I read up on Vega Sport Electrolyte, one of the primary ingredients is table salt....

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM

So I've decided that I'm probably doing the right thing by using

Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator

or its cheaper counterpart, Emergen-C. Obviously some people on this forum are really neurotic about additives, even fructose and maltodextrin. I wonder how they eat fruit. IMO they should've just been honest and said "No I probably wouldn't be Paleo if I had to give up salt" and owned up to their preference. These are the same people who say it's ok to eat quinoa, so I wouldn't be too worriedIt's simple preference.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Who is worrying? Only you.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM

It's vega not vegn, problem with their product packaging, sorry.

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1005 · June 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

If you drink that stuff as a substitute for "salt", you're putting down multiple artificial flavorings, citric acid (possibly derived from genetically modified black molds through chemical processes), malic acid (possibly a racemic mix unless otherwise specified), stevia extract, silicon dioxide, and a handful of metals, just to get less than 0.05 teaspoons of salt per serving, which is >30% less salt than a 'pinch' of salt.

If you drank 12 of those in a row, you wouldn't hit half the DV for sodium.

I'm receptive to the idea of sports drinks under some circumstances.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 6:44 PM

It's Vega Electrolyte Hydrator... My old box still has the old unreadable design that everyone was guessing was Vegn. You sound very receptive to the idea. I'm honestly glad that this discussion has brought all the anti-Paleo trolls out of the woodwork. Now I know who yall are.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Can you prove that it is detrimental to me? Hmm.. thought not.

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1005 · June 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

A sweetened beverage which makes the claim of "balancing your electrolytes" (I can't find "vegn" on google), sounds like an odd substitution for salt in your diet. Keto blues? v8 juice? J to the ERF.

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2302 · June 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Eeeeexactly

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26002 · June 16, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Stop worrying about reenactment -- worry about health. There are lots of studies that show that limiting salt can be detrimental, and that adequate salt intake is health promoting. That's more than enough for me.

Eat salt because it makes you healthy, not because Grok did or did not eat it

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 9:32 AM

That's cool... one of the other hits said something about primates swallowing clay in order to neutralize tannins (maybe, I mean, they can't ask why). Maybe that bentonite cleanse was doing something, but not what I imagined.. Cool links though, thanks. A lot to think about.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Vegn is like Emergen-C except it contains only the minerals and no sugars at all. Its entire purpose is to balance your electrolytes. It has some stevia in it, too much if you ask me, but my taste buds aren't used to sweet flavors anymore. Either one works if you get into the "keto blues" and in a pinch so does V8 juice. All animals do is concentrate that down and give it to you via blood. We make broth or au jus (in modern times) out of it.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Actually I do believe this diet is a re-enactment. Some people are reenacting the ancestral diet and going back just a few hundred years. Others, are Primal and including milk (I assume they are reenacting nomadic herders), and others are Paleo, in which case they may be taking up hunting or fishing to make the experience more real. Certainly many people are taking up Crossfit and feeling the thrill of competition maybe for the first time since childhood. Not being a squeamish wimp is Paleo too. Or at least reclaiming your ability to be courageous.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 5:57 AM

What about broth? Is there nothing in it that resembles salt?

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

Again, aren't elephants herbivores? Are there any salt mining carnivores? Omnivores? I'm pretty sure we get our electrolytes from blood at this point... yukky but that's probably what makes broth so nutritious. The blood of salt collecting herbivores? Hmm..

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Lots of good answers, thanks for answering truthfully. Ditto everyone.

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26002 · June 14, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Reenactment to your own detriment? That's a silly notion.

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5 · June 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM

This page can be said to be related:

http://books.google.com.tr/books?id=gvwy--ul3CQC&p...

And to answer my first question, I think all of the evolution is important, and depending on what we are interested about, the timeline should be given a specific function of importance.

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1005 · June 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM

...Emergen-C is fructose, orange flavors, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, and a trace amount of artificial vitamins and some minerals. I'm not sure what "Vegn" is... I'm guessing a similarly flavored drink with a few hundred milligrams of sodium against a bunch more potassium? Not comparable with caribou blood + animal bones / organs or salt.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

According to cron-o-meter (a food diary with built in nutritional info), I get my daily requirement of salt even without adding any. Some foods I eat contain salt though. Like 1 oz pork rinds (the only really crunchy non starch food I have found).

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

As I was saying, both the Chukchi and Eskimo use blood. But there's more than just sodium in that. It's more akin to the modern usage of Emergen-C or Vegn electrolyte solutions. I hadn't thought about it before, but I probably substitute these for "salt" in my diet and would have used blood in a historical setting. If I remember right the recipe of the Chukchi included the contents of the reindeer stomach and cleaned sections of intestine (proto-noodles?). Probably other things but ethnologists aren't cooks so we don't know exactly.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I'm pretty sure that to some extent, this diet is a reenactment. This website doesn't feel quite like some forums I've been on, but I sometimes feel like I'm talking to SCA people or survivalists. It's definitely not a marketing ploy to some people, they're serious. It's perhaps a modernization (ie. we no longer eat horse meat or each other), but I'm just not sure salt should be modernized.

That said, I'm glad you mentioned blood. Both the Eskimo and Chukchi (the latter I researched for an environmental studies class in college - sustainability in the environment)...

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I got a chuckle out of those ibex. But they're ruminants. We got ourselves into the trouble of assuming the diet-heart theory by using herbivore rabbits, so I'll reserve judgment about salt for humans based on ibex or any other ruminant behavior. What about mice? They're omnivores. I mean in nature, not in a lab. Dogs of all kinds in nature? Cats? Omnivorous monkeys?

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40 · June 14, 2014 at 8:58 AM

I'd definitely still be paleo. There are so many other spices to chose from, and as a kid my grandmother, who did all the cooking, barely put a pinch of salt in most foods. As for its health benefits, we actually have absolutely no idea. I honestly don't think salt poses a threat. There's no proof that it does. And also what @paleot said. So I'm not planning on cutting salt, but if suddenly it turned out that it's the devil (which I'm pretty sure it isn't) I wouldn't be too sad about it. *grew up in a tropical island with all sorts of cheap delicious spices*

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Lots of good answers, thanks for answering truthfully. Ditto everyone.

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0 · June 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

People in stone age did consume salts. Chris Kresser had given a great article on Historical consumption and health implications of salt.

Preagricultural people were assessed to have devoured just 768 mg of sodium every day about 1950 mg of salt, which is much lower than our current admission

Eventually he says that "adding grungy salt to an entire sustenance’s Paleo eating methodology is fit as a fiddle. By restricting grains and transformed sustenance’s, the measure of sodium in your eating regimen will as of now be definitely diminished as contrasted with the standard American diet.

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17015 · June 15, 2014 at 2:34 AM

Before you assume that cavemen had no access to salt, perhaps you might want to read about how elephants get their salt.

http://www.gnolls.org/tag/kitum-cave/

If an elephant can go to such lengths, do you think cavemen wouldn't go to such lengths? In any case, salt is as near as the ocean, and most humans stayed near bodies of water. The ones near the ocean would of course need fresh water, but access to salt water meant access to salt.

and...

http://naturalhygienesociety.org/articles/paleo1.h...

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

Again, aren't elephants herbivores? Are there any salt mining carnivores? Omnivores? I'm pretty sure we get our electrolytes from blood at this point... yukky but that's probably what makes broth so nutritious. The blood of salt collecting herbivores? Hmm..

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26002 · June 14, 2014 at 7:09 PM

would I be paleo if it meant not being halthy... Odd question.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 5:57 AM

What about broth? Is there nothing in it that resembles salt?

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41297 · June 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Say it with me now: paleo is not reenactment. "What would Grok do?" should not be the end all of what is paleo or not.

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2302 · June 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Eeeeexactly

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1067 · June 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

I would try a no salt diet for a month, then evaluate it. The Weston Price book states that it takes about two weeks to become used to a no salt diet, and that the Amazon tribes show good health on hundreds of milligrams sodium intake per day.

The first statement (about two weeks) agrees very well with my experience. I have had to travel for work in the past, and got myself in situations where I would take no salt for breakfast or lunch for a couple of weeks. Salt cravings become very real after one week, forcing you to buy a pack of chips, but then they subside. Surely nature made us craving salt for a good reason, but, as is often the case, optimal intake may be just twice or so the natural, "paleo" intake.

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5 · June 14, 2014 at 6:28 AM

There are also these questions:

1) Should evolution be cut at a point after which it is beneficial in examining our health ? If yes, when should that be ? [ Most of our evolution (our ancestors' ancestors' ancestors' ... ancestors till the first organisms) must have happened in salty water ]

2) Did our close ancestors not use natural salty water (besides salt deposits) ?

Look at what these animals do for some salts, such may be in our instincts also:

http://www.earthintransition.org/2011/04/no-fear-o...

PS: You may want to check these also:

http://empoweredsustenance.com/salt-is-good-for-you/

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I got a chuckle out of those ibex. But they're ruminants. We got ourselves into the trouble of assuming the diet-heart theory by using herbivore rabbits, so I'll reserve judgment about salt for humans based on ibex or any other ruminant behavior. What about mice? They're omnivores. I mean in nature, not in a lab. Dogs of all kinds in nature? Cats? Omnivorous monkeys?

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255 · June 14, 2014 at 6:07 AM

No, I don't want to die. :Trollface:

On a more serious note, I would be interested in hearing what amount of salt is optiomal and why.

Hoping it turns out to be 10g/day, as I love salt. :D

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

According to cron-o-meter (a food diary with built in nutritional info), I get my daily requirement of salt even without adding any. Some foods I eat contain salt though. Like 1 oz pork rinds (the only really crunchy non starch food I have found).

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1005 · June 14, 2014 at 5:58 AM

When I think of a stone age culture, a group like the Inuit comes to mind, thriving against the harsh elements of nature. They ate salt water meats and drank the salty blood of animals with the salts from bones boiled down with drinking water from partially desalinated sea water from melted coastal ice (selected by an exceptional taste for sodium chloride in comparison with other cultures). They covered hundreds of miles across the moving ice, where salt wasn't consumed as a fad, but as a requirement of the human body, tightly working in harmony with their hunting and gathering.

Sodium is the 6th most abundant element in the earth's crust, between calcium and magnesium. It's useful stuff. (eg. Na+/K+-ATPase.) If you decrease your sodium intake toward the human minimum, you will likely shorten your life, decrease your health metrics, lose athletic endurance and performance, and food will taste worse. Hyponatremia / restricting essential nutrients isn't Paleo.

Any source of salt should do.. they're all more or less salt. (this diet isn't a reenactment.)

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM

It's vega not vegn, problem with their product packaging, sorry.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

As I was saying, both the Chukchi and Eskimo use blood. But there's more than just sodium in that. It's more akin to the modern usage of Emergen-C or Vegn electrolyte solutions. I hadn't thought about it before, but I probably substitute these for "salt" in my diet and would have used blood in a historical setting. If I remember right the recipe of the Chukchi included the contents of the reindeer stomach and cleaned sections of intestine (proto-noodles?). Probably other things but ethnologists aren't cooks so we don't know exactly.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I'm pretty sure that to some extent, this diet is a reenactment. This website doesn't feel quite like some forums I've been on, but I sometimes feel like I'm talking to SCA people or survivalists. It's definitely not a marketing ploy to some people, they're serious. It's perhaps a modernization (ie. we no longer eat horse meat or each other), but I'm just not sure salt should be modernized.

That said, I'm glad you mentioned blood. Both the Eskimo and Chukchi (the latter I researched for an environmental studies class in college - sustainability in the environment)...

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