Many people wonder how sodium can impact their weight loss efforts. While sodium by itself does not contribute to weight gain or weight loss and does not have any calories to add to your weight, it can affect the amount of water you retain.
Consuming high levels of salt can cause your body to hold in more water, which can make you feel bloated and cause you to gain weight which is partly why you see daily weight fluctuations. An extra 400 milligrams of sodium in your body results in a 2-pound weight increase.
The American Heart Association recommends that you consume less than 1,500 mg/day sodium, which is the level with the greatest effect on lowering blood pressure. However, this number is not set in stone either as people like competitive athletes who sweat a lot is too low. If you reduced your sodium intake to a low amount — to the recommended 1,500 milligrams per day — you would lose about 1.25 pounds. Consuming the recommended sodium levels each day ensures you do not retain excess water. Also by drinking plenty of water each day you are actually flushing the sodium out of your system.
You can not and should never try to eliminate sodium from your diet completely. Sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body – the body can NOT function without sodium. Period. If you cute too much sodium form your system you can experience things such as increased LDL and Triglycerides, increased insulin resistance, increased risk of death in Type II Diabetics, and Hyponatremia in athletes.
Losing weight is generally a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn. A pound of fat is the rough equivalent of 3,500 calories, so creating a 500-calorie deficit each day should make you lose about a pound per week. So if you are eating right and drinking the recommended daily amount of water, sodium should not be a concern.
So if your doctor has recommended that you limit sodium for whatever reason, then by all means continue to do so. But, if you are healthy and want to stay that way you should not even be remotely concerned about moderate intakes of sodium. No obsessive counting of milligrams required!!! Just continue to eat REAL food (not processed foods), add salt as needed to make your food taste good and continue with your journey.