LA Weight Loss - Question about Salt

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12-11-2008, 06:57 PM
Why are we supposed to be so restrictive with our salt? I do not have high blood pressure so that isn't an issue. Also, I know that salt will make you retain some water, but it's not water weight I am worried about, it's actual fat. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else is less restrictive with their salt intake. I don't mind using lighter salt versions, but to never eat canned veggies again will be hard for me and my kids. I would much rather have a can of green beans than eat something high fat or high calorie. Anybody have an explanation?


Beautiful Ace
12-11-2008, 07:02 PM
I have been using salt like normal since I started "dieting". And lost ten pounds in just about a month. I know nothing about salt though, just sharing my experience with it. lol

12-11-2008, 07:09 PM
Dan? Would you like to take this one? :lol:

12-11-2008, 07:38 PM
Yea I think Dan has like a 3 page explanation on no salt!

12-11-2008, 08:42 PM
If I use salt which is very seldom I use a product called Nu Salt it doesn't contain sodium and tastes like salt.

12-12-2008, 01:48 PM
I'd like to know how to answer this as well... My DH keeps asking, but I don't have an answer...

12-12-2008, 02:25 PM
Sorry I'm late to the party on this one...

The issue of salt is very near and dear to my heart (literally).. I spent years as a salt junkie, putting WAY too much on just about everything. On the surface, Laura, you're right.. Salt is low calorie and no fat, so really the only way we lose or gain through salt is by water retention.. However, as the article below plainly shows, salt is a killer (also literally) when it comes to the foods we put in our body.. Lower your salt intake by eating healthier foods and you'll not only lose weight but also improve your general health..

There's no way to eliminate salt from our diets completely, nor should we.. Our bodies need what it gives, but as a society we consume many times the needed amounts on a daily basis..

Laura, eliminating canned foods is much easier than you think it will be. The only canned food my family now regularly ingests are "kitchen cut" green beans because for some reason, that's the only way my son will tolerate them. The trick is to flush the can out with fresh water several times to reduce the salt content. Add to that the fact that most canned veggies also have frozen counterparts that include much less salt. When it comes to soup, try making your own. There are some new very low-to-no sodium stocks and broths out there, which will make soup making lot easier.

Try making your own spaghetti sauce using low (50 mg or less) canned tomatoes. It may seem like a pain at first, but if you add in your own spices, it can be really tasty. It's a trial and error thing, honestly. If you REALLY need more salt, use a few dashes of Morton's lite or "NoSalt".. But be careful with the "NoSalt".. It's basically pure potassium and has a VERY strong taste.. A little goes a LOOOONG way...

Ok.. back to the basic question of how salt affects weight loss... Reading between the lines here is the dirty secret that even "healthy" processed foods are a killer... You CAN remove a lot of the processed foods from your diet, from cheeses and lunch meats to the frozen diet stuff, our bodies don't need all the extra crap these foods provide us.

This article comes from

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How Salt Affects Your Weight
Diet and Weight Loss Tutorial
Salt does not cause your body to gain or lose fat. In fact, salt has no calories. High consumption of salt only results in temporary weight gain as it causes your body to retain water. Conversely, low consumption of salt can result in temporary weight loss as it causes your body to expel water.

It is interesting to note that many crash diets which boast quick weight loss rely on foods with little or no salt content. The weight loss is mostly water, and as soon as you eat foods containing salt again you regain the weight.

A Word of Caution
Our opening paragraphs would lead you to believe that salt is of little concern in regards to long-term weight loss. In fact, a diet high in salt content can not only affect your blood pressure (see below), but is typically associated with weight gain.

The reason is that high levels of salt in our diets usually come from calorie dense, fiber poor, processed foods, like those found in fast food and restaurant meals, as well as on supermarket shelves. If you adhere to a low salt diet, it will likely consist of the lower calorie, healthier foods associated with weight loss.

Salt versus Sodium
We add table salt (sodium chloride) during cooking and at the dinner table to enhance the flavor of our food. Manufactures add it, often in great quantities, to return flavor to processed foods and help preserve them. But when we look at nutrition content, we look at sodium.

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, salt and sodium are not the same thing. Sodium, which is found naturally in most foods, accounts for approximately 40% of table salt. Therefore when salt is added to food, the sodium content increases by approximately 40% of the amount of salt added.

Why Salt Causes Water Retention
Our bodies rely on electrolytes, most significantly sodium and potassium, to carry the electrical impulses that control our bodily functions. In order for our bodies to function properly, it is important that the concentration of electrolytes in our bodies remain constant.

A high concentration of electrolytes in our blood triggers our thirst mechanism, causing us to consume adequate amounts of water to return to the proper concentration of electrolytes. This is one of the reasons bars provide free salty snacks like pretzels and peanuts. The salt causes us to become thirsty and purchase more drinks.

When we consume an adequate amount of water, our kidneys are able to keep the concentration of electrolytes in our blood constant by increasing or decreasing the amount of water we retain. The result of our retaining more or less water in our bloodstream can also affect our blood pressure.

The water moves beyond our bloodstream, too. Through the process of osmosis, water flows from a lower salinity environment to a higher one in an attempt to balance the levels of salinity. After we consume large amounts of salt, it is the water moving from our bloodstream into our skin that gives us that "puffy" look and makes it hard to get our rings off. Then, when we consume lesser amounts of salt, the same process works in reverse to remove the excess water from our bodies.

Salt and High Blood Pressure
Some people are "salt sensitive," which means that consumption of salt can increase their blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is an important risk factor for both heart attack and stroke.

For information on high blood pressure, including methods of lowering it and recommended levels of sodium consumption, please visit the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association websites.

12-12-2008, 02:26 PM
Nettie, where do I find the NuSalt? Is it in a grocery store or a health food store? Thanks, Laura

12-12-2008, 02:37 PM
She may be referring to "NoSalt", which can be found right along side the normal salt on the spice aisle.

Opps.. My bad.. here it is...

12-12-2008, 02:39 PM
Dan, thank you so much for the information on salt. I think instead of obsessing about it I am just going to make more of an effort to eat real (unprocessed) foods. Fresh meats, veggies, fruits, etc. Then if I have to have canned veggies (I also have a couple of sons 4 and 7 who will only eat canned green beans) it will only be every little bit. This first week has just been hard, because I used to do canned green beans at least every other day. The good thing is I am trying to cook healthier and my 7 year old surprised me this week by actually eating grilled zucchini and telling me how much he liked it. Maybe I have been holding them back and they will develop a taste now for good wholesome veggies. It doesn't hurt to try.

12-12-2008, 03:04 PM
Exactly right.. It was funny how fast my kids got out of habit of wanting junky snacks.. Now it's mostly yogurt and fruit rather than cookies and chips.

My daughter will eat just about any veggie you put in front of her, but my son has been harder to train.. If it's not canned green beans, raw carrots of cucumber, he wants no part of it..

The other thing that you will realize very soon is how good it feels to be in the supermarket checkout line with your basket full of good foods while all around you are carts full of junk.. It's astounding what we put in our bodies when we get right down to it.. That feeling you're going to get from that is what we call a "NSV - Non-scale-victory" around here... NSV's are to be really held onto and used for motivation.

NSV's come in all shapes and forms.. The good feeling you'll get from passing by a fast food place without stopping, or resisting the temptation to buy donuts or chips from the gas station when you stop for a fill up are good examples. The obvious ones are the comments you'll start getting from people about how great you look and when you put on your clothes and they are noticibly loose.

12-12-2008, 03:13 PM
Oh.. One thing I forgot.. If you MUST have lunchmeat (as I sometimes have a BAD craving for), seek out "Boar's Head" brand deli meats.. Their processing is much less than most lunchmeats and they have several low sodium selections. My personal favorit is the roast beef.. The low sodium stuff only has something like 50mg's per serving and they don't add any fillers or artificial flavors... It's more expensive and it won't keep near as long as normal packaged meats, but they are totally worth it!

12-12-2008, 04:06 PM
Laura, For me the biggest thing to be aware of is that if I do eat something that is salty, that my weight will be up the next day or two afterwards. It is important to keep this in mind so you don't get discouraged and give up your efforts to lose due to just water weight fluctuations due to salt.

I'm not as strict as Dan, but I will read labels and pick the lower sodium version of things. Often going to organic versions will get you a lower salt version, but not always. I also do the rinsing thing when I've got something that has a higher salt content. I do like to use the occasional can of sliced mushrooms, and they taste a lot less salty when you rinse them. I can really taste how salty a lot of food is now that I'm not eating as much processed stuff. Your taste buds will totally reset to the new lower version of saltiness and you will wonder how you could have enjoyed stuff so loaded with it previously.

Beautiful Ace
12-12-2008, 04:15 PM
so Barbara, you're saying that if I eliminate salt for a while, and then introduce a lower amount of salt than I would usually use for whatever.... my taste buds will be more sensitive and I won't need as much?? That made sense right? ahah

12-12-2008, 04:17 PM
see, I knew Dan would want to take this one! Nice job Dan!

12-12-2008, 04:49 PM
I buy Nu salt at my local g.ocery store...

12-12-2008, 05:29 PM
Thanks Dan! My new answer will be "because Dan says it's bad"! j/k - good info, you are so resourceful :)

12-15-2008, 06:06 PM
Absolutely, If you cut back on salt for a time, you will definitely not need as much of it. In fact when I go to eat at a fast food place, the stuff is so salty to me now that I don't really enjoy eating it (never ever thought that would happen).

12-15-2008, 09:35 PM
Today I took my daughters out to subway for a treat... First time I was out to eat in 3 months, the sub tasted so salty I could not eat it, I had the chicken sub with lettuce, green pepper,cucumber and pickles with a dab of mustard... Where the salt was I dunno but it turned me off eating out.

12-16-2008, 11:23 PM
Did you have the grilled chicken or the sliced chicken (deli meat style)?

At Subway, I only get the grilled chicken.. It's plenty salty, but not as bad as the lunch meat-style stuff.

Also, I load up on veggies, substitute spinach for lettuce and obviously don't get the cheese.