Monday, April 12, 2010

Does Too Much Sodium Promote Weight Gain?

I ate a high salt diet for about 3 days will that cause me to get fat? Also how do I get rid of the water weight and water retention to bring my body back to normal water levels? Thank You, Randy A.

Dear Randy,

No, sodium does not contain any calories, so high sodium foods (including those that are salty) will not cause any weight gain in the form of fat. Temporary weight gain can be caused by fluid retention and the best way to drop that is by drinking lots of water. Healthy kidneys use the water to flush the extra sodium out of the body.

If you notice a weight gain of more than a pound or so and it stays with you for several days, you might want to check in with your physician. Symptoms such as swollen ankles or difficulty breathing (because fluid can be collecting around your heart or lungs) may indicate a problem with your heart or kidneys that is preventing the release of salt and water that is necessary to return your body to normal. Serious health consequences may occur if this is the case, but diet and medications can help .... so see your physician as soon as possible if this is the case.

By the way, there are many foods that are extremely high in sodium that people are often not aware of: many fast foods, canned foods, snack foods, and lunch meats can cause our recommended sodium intake to double in no time. Check food labels when you can and try to keep sodium intake below 700 milligrams at each meal in order to keep the total daily intake at the recommended 2300 milligram level.

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