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Ysabel Montemayor, RD

Does Sodium Impact Weight Loss?

For healthy adults, the recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 mg per day. For those who have a chronic health condition, like hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease, no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
salty potato chips on dark background

Does sodium affect weight loss? The answer is YES!

People tend to associate weight loss and dieting with calorie-counting, low-fat, low-carb, high protein, and building lean muscle mass, but what about consuming sodium?

Find out how sodium impacts weight loss.

Table of Contents
How Does Sodium Affect the Body?
What is the Daily Recommended Intake of Sodium?
Grocery Shopping Tips For a Low Sodium Diet
Low Sodium Food Options for Weight Loss
Closing Thoughts

How Does Sodium Affect the Body?

Sodium is a mineral that is found in table salt. It plays a role in many bodily functions, so it is important to get it through food in adequate amounts. However, many people are getting more sodium than they need because large amounts are found in a variety of foods.

When it is consumed in excess, it may become harmful, especially towards heart health (high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease). Too much can also increase the amount of water your body retains. This can cause you to feel bloated and make you gain water weight. This is part of the reason why your weight fluctuates on a daily basis.

How to shed water weight by reducing sodium- infographic

If you find yourself retaining water, there are four things that you can do to shed water weight according to Medical News Today.

  1. Reduce the amount of sodium you are consuming in your diet
  2. Do exercises that make you sweat a lot
  3. Drink more water
  4. Reduce carbs consumption

Now that we’ve covered how sodium affects the body and how to shed water weight, it’s time to talk about the recommended amounts.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute claims that if you are a healthy adult, your recommended daily amount of sodium intake should be 2,300 mg.

On the other hand, if you are suffering from a chronic health condition such as hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease, you should consume around 1,500 mg of sodium each day.

If you are unsure of how much sodium you should be consuming on a daily basis consult with your family physician.

Grocery Shopping Tips for a Low Sodium Diet

The Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion has great tips on how to accomplish healthy, low-sodium grocery shopping.

Here are some tips for your next grocery run:

  • Limit processed foods. Be cautious before purchasing anything that comes pre-packaged in a box, bag, or can because they often contain a lot of sodium.
  • Purchase fresh organic fruit and vegetables.
  • Read food labels and choose the ones with lower sodium. Look for food items with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less in sodium.
  • Check labels for “no salt added” or “low sodium”. Those are what you should purchase. Labels that say “low-sodium” means that the product has no more than 140 mg of sodium, “very low-sodium” has no more than 35 mg, and “sodium-free” has no more than 5 mg.

Not only will choosing healthy, low sodium products benefit your waistline, but it will be heart-healthy too.

Low Sodium Food Options for Weight Loss

Now that you know what to look for at the grocery store, we are going to cover what type of low-sodium food is great to eat on a daily basis.

These daily low-sodium food recommendations are from The Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion.

  • Eat plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. You can still eat fruits and vegetables that are frozen or canned, but make sure they are low in sodium. You can also rinse the fruits or vegetables after taking them out of the can to remove excess salt.
  • When it comes to grains (breads or pastas) make sure that they are whole grain or whole wheat. Still check their food label because they can be high in sodium.
  • If you like to eat snacks such as pretzels, chips, and popcorn – make sure that you get the no salt added or low salt version.
  • One great tip from The Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion is, “If your food comes with a seasoning packet, use only part of the packet. This will lower the amount of sodium in the food.”
  • Always choose fresh or frozen meat over processed meat, such as ham, bologna, salami, pepperoni, and sausage since processed meats are high in sodium. Certain dairy products, such as cheeses, also contain a lot of sodium. Again, you can check the packaging for “low-sodium” labels.
  • When you cook your meals, use low or no-sodium ingredients that are usually high in salt, such as sauces. If you are on a salt-restriction or low-sodium diet, using seasonings instead of salt can add flavor to your meals.

Closing Thoughts

Watch how much sodium you are consuming on a daily basis in order to avoid bloating.

Review food labels when you are out grocery shopping. This will help you avoid excess salt sneaking into your body.

Eat a balanced diet that contains fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and do exercise on a daily basis to help you reach your weight loss goals.

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