100 lb. Club - Do you watch your sodium?




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Sandi
06-09-2011, 10:45 AM
I am curious how many of you actively track your sodium? In fitday it says I should have 1500 mg of sodium per day. Even completely on plan, I usually double that, sometimes more. I know it has health risks associated with high blood pressure, but for the whole weight loss thing, do you think controlling it really helps?


Lovely
06-09-2011, 10:51 AM
Personally? Nope. Don't watch it. Never did, and I lose weight just fine. Lost 108 lbs just fine the first time without looking at sodium.

However, I don't have high blood pressure or anything. If my doctor ever told me to, I certainly would!

Right now I have so much to do just revolving around eating healthier in general, getting in more movement, etc etc... I'll take my chances with sodium and be happy just to be eating fewer calories.

TooManyDimples
06-09-2011, 11:23 AM
I used to. I tried very hard to keep it near the 1500 fitday number for a while. I didn't enjoy that so I stopped keeping track and I don't really think it makes a difference really. If I'm holding onto some water weight then I'm just always holding onto it so my loses are still accurate I'd say.


raebeaR
06-09-2011, 11:48 AM
Sandi, I recently read (sorry, I don't recall where!) that only 10% of the population actually has a sodium sensitivity such that it affects blood pressure. Like Lovely, I don't watch it, either. And like Lovely, I don't have high blood pressure. But I would definitely do whatever my doctor told me -- including watching sodium if she suggested it.

With respect to weight loss, I've always thought it was faintly ridiculous to worry about it in the absence of a medical condition. It's hard enough to modify one's eating habits without giving up the kick that salt gives to food! And if it's just water weight, it's not relevant to my fat loss efforts.

I should add that I eat very few processed foods and so my own sodium intake comes chiefly from salt I add myself to my foods. It's generally not that high -- around 1,700-1,800 mg/day.

Teresa66
06-09-2011, 11:52 AM
I don't track my sodium but I do watch it carefully. If I eat too much sodium, I will have a gain the next day. At home I don't eat processed foods, I use a low sodium salt, and I buy low sodium foods as much as possible. I have gotten really used to foods tasting great with very little sodium and use a wide range of spices in my cooking. The problem comes when I eat out because almost anything prepared at a restaurant taste way to salty. Which is good, because it now requires me to be really careful about what I order at restaurant.

Gale02
06-09-2011, 11:59 AM
I notice it sometimes, but don't put any effort into tracking or reducing it. I definitely notice the next day spikes on the scale if I have too much of it.

My Dr told me that unless I have a bp problem (which I don't, 102/60 yesterday at the Dr) then I don't need to think about it.

JamiSue3916
06-09-2011, 12:40 PM
I've noticed different sites have different daily sodium recommendations. CalorieCount.about.com said 1500mg while MyFitnessPal says 2500mg. I agree that 1500 is all but impossible to stay under, 2500 is much more reasonable. I do monitor it and will make lower sodium choices if available, but I do focus most on calories as it's more important to weight loss. However, losing weight isn't my true goal...being healthier is. And as such I also track protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, nutrients and sodium so I can work toward having a more balanced diet and healthier body.

Arctic Mama
06-09-2011, 01:42 PM
Sandi, I recently read (sorry, I don't recall where!) that only 10% of the population actually has a sodium sensitivity such that it affects blood pressure. Like Lovely, I don't watch it, either. And like Lovely, I don't have high blood pressure. But I would definitely do whatever my doctor told me -- including watching sodium if she suggested it.

With respect to weight loss, I've always thought it was faintly ridiculous to worry about it in the absence of a medical condition. It's hard enough to modify one's eating habits without giving up the kick that salt gives to food! And if it's just water weight, it's not relevant to my fat loss efforts.

I should add that I eat very few processed foods and so my own sodium intake comes chiefly from salt I add myself to my foods. It's generally not that high -- around 1,700-1,800 mg/day.

This exactly! I cook from scratch almost everything we eat and have no medical condition that sodium affects, so I don't give even a passing thought to tracking it. It just doesn't matter to me.

Trazey34
06-09-2011, 02:40 PM
I'm a non-watcher as well. I didn't have high blood pressure so I never really thought about it. I never put salt ON things, and always used it sparingly while cooking. I use sea salt cuz it's groovier looking LOL My biggest intake of sodium was McDonald's FRIES hahaha but I haven't had them in more than a year!

Gale02
06-09-2011, 03:29 PM
Trazey - Did you know that McDonald's milkshakes actually have more sodium than their fries? o_O Not that you're having those either, but I thought it was interesting.

OnMyWayDown
06-09-2011, 03:51 PM
Although I can't say I keep track of my sodium we eat at home for almost every meal and when shopping I make a conscious effort to purchase low sodium items making the only sodium being the sea salt I add when cooking. I think that the importance of tracking sodium is geared more towards people who eat whatever they want. If you are already dieting and eating a more healthy diet I think that it seems to balance out on its own.

MindiV
06-09-2011, 03:52 PM
I'm trying to watch mine, to see if it's responsible for my phantom gains of late. The harder and closer I watch, the more I get in there. If I get my sodium even close to low, my carbs go through the roof.

I can't win.

That being said...I don't have any problems with blood pressure or cholesterol or anything. It DOES affect my weight a lot. I weighed 141-142 Monday through Wednesday, then had a sodium spike Wednesday and Thursday. Today I shot up to 144.4. My guess is tomorrow will also be high before it goes back down some, since my sodium today is lower...

April Snow
06-09-2011, 04:11 PM
The plan I am on (Dukan Diet) recommends low salt. I cook mostly from scratch and don't use too much added salt, and I do low sodium versions of soy sauce, etc. but I don't go nuts measuring and tracking it all.

Sandi
06-09-2011, 04:17 PM
Thanks guys. That's pretty much what I was thinking, but this comes from the same person who wasn't paying nay attention to Fiber!

DixC Chix
06-09-2011, 04:48 PM
Nope!

I did have HBP but not any more. Even then I did not watch my salt. My HBP was more about the extra weight I carried rather than how much sodium I consumed.

I have never cooked much with it (I don't salt boiling water, soups, etc) but I will salt my veggies and hard boiled eggs with kosher salt cuz I like the big flakes (and it is left over from pickling).

My salt habit has not changed - just my weight...so bringing down the weight brought down the HBP.

DixC Chix
06-09-2011, 04:50 PM
Fiber - Now thats what I do pay attention to!

Beverlyjoy
06-09-2011, 06:27 PM
My doctor suggested that I keep track of my sodium as I am borderline HBP. It's pretty hard to stay at 1500... I can manage about 2000. It takes alot of effort really to watch it. Sometimes it's easier than others.

I amazed to find out that some veggies are not low sodium: celeery, beets, spinach....

I've found alot of ideas from low sodium websites and recipes.

Ususally any meal you might eat at a restaurant has nearly a whole days worth of sodium.

I have found ways to cut back...no salt added canned veggies, tomatoes, ketchup or beans. Ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. Rice cakes instead of crackers.

Expunge
06-09-2011, 08:29 PM
Sodium itself doesn't actually have much effect on blood pressure. It's the proportion of sodium to potassium that actually spikes blood pressure in people sensitive to it. So if you're eating a really crappy diet that's crazy high sodium and extremely low potassium (like... oh, McDonald's XD), and your body isn't very efficient at balancing your ion levels, it can be a problem. The vast majority of well-hydrated, healthy people don't have any problems with sodium whatsoever.

I don't control NaCl, but I do try to avoid MSG and a few other 'hidden' salts because I always feel itchy and bloated after consuming them.

Trazey34
06-10-2011, 10:55 AM
Trazey - Did you know that McDonald's milkshakes actually have more sodium than their fries? o_O Not that you're having those either, but I thought it was interesting.

No I didn't know that!! I've never had a McD's shake believe it or not!! But back when I was eating that crap a few times weekly, I was very very healthy about it!!! Double-cheeseburgers, fries and a DIET COKE! a milkshake just would have been ridiculous ;) hahahahah

calluna
06-10-2011, 12:25 PM
I pay attention to sodium; it is tracked when other things are tracked in TDP. I do try to keep it down, although I don't have high blood pressure. Junk food (fries, chips, restaurant food in general) nearly always has lots of sodium and I blow up like a balloon. It comes back off, of course, but I dislike the feeling.

Gale02
06-10-2011, 04:09 PM
No I didn't know that!! I've never had a McD's shake believe it or not!! But back when I was eating that crap a few times weekly, I was very very healthy about it!!! Double-cheeseburgers, fries and a DIET COKE! a milkshake just would have been ridiculous ;) hahahahah

Well, if you're gonna eat crap you might as well be healthy about it! :rofl:

peanutt
06-10-2011, 04:14 PM
I track and limit sodium because I have a family history of heart disease and borderline high blood pressure. I think so long as you don't have those risk factors, there's not as much need to limit sodium beyond the common sense of "don't pour 2 tbsps of salt on your meal". :)

sept15lija
06-10-2011, 05:06 PM
No I didn't know that!! I've never had a McD's shake believe it or not!! But back when I was eating that crap a few times weekly, I was very very healthy about it!!! Double-cheeseburgers, fries and a DIET COKE! a milkshake just would have been ridiculous ;) hahahahah

Too funny - I always thought about that irony when I was ordering myself an extra value meal too!! haha...now I just order the diet coke. ;) I love your signature line too about motivation btw!

As for the sodium question, I don't track it either, it hasn't seemed to affect me at all that I can tell.

nikkster
06-10-2011, 05:51 PM
I have to watch mine because it causes me to get migraines. If I go carelessly about two days without paying attention to it and eat processed or packaged food then I'll get a horrible migraine. Even if I didn't it makes me bloated! So all together I try my best to stay away from products with high sodium and make sure to drink plenty of water to clear it out.

konfyoozed
06-10-2011, 06:24 PM
i pay attention to sodium, and do my best to keep it under the recommended daily intake of 2500mg... most days i can do that just fine. however, if i do go over or get over 2000mg i will retain water heavily. my body is sensitive to sodium bloat, so i try to drink a lot of water if i've got excess sodium in my daily food.

blancheneige
06-11-2011, 08:34 AM
I try to, because water retention depresses me.

trishn222
06-11-2011, 10:55 AM
No I didn't know that!! I've never had a McD's shake believe it or not!! But back when I was eating that crap a few times weekly, I was very very healthy about it!!! Double-cheeseburgers, fries and a DIET COKE! a milkshake just would have been ridiculous ;) hahahahah

This made me laugh out loud! I used to do the exact same thing!

Hungry4Health
06-11-2011, 05:31 PM
I do not track it. I am trying to keep things as simple as possible for me so I do not grow obsessed. I track calories and write down the exercise I have done. I DO try to be mindful of the sodium in a general way. I like teriyaki and pickles and those two things are loaded. I also try to limit canned soup and have practically eliminated packaged food or pre cooked food - although I had done that long ago.

But if it concerns you and you are interested in it, I say have at it. You should track what you want and need. I bet it will be hard to do unless you eat a lot of things with the sodium amounts listed per serving. Let us know how it goes!

kaplods
06-11-2011, 05:55 PM
I watch sodium in a way that most people don't have to. I have to make sure I'm not getting too little. My body sheds sodium far more easily than most, because of diet, medication, and body chemistry.

Diet - I was raised in a family that didn't use much salt, and didn't favor highly salted foods, so I don't have much of a "salt-tooth" (except for restaurant asian food occasionally).

Medication - I do have high blood pressure, and am on a potassium-sparing blood pressure medication (which means it's a sodium-depleting medication).
There's so much sodium in the Standard American Diet, that sodium depletion isn't normally a concern.


Body chemistry - Even my diet and medications don't fully explain why I shed sodium so easily. My doctors say it just seems to be a personal fluke. As a result, I have to be conscious of not going too low, not that I have to work at it very hard. I just don't have to go out of my way to avoid it, and before surgeries I have to have my sodium levels checked (I've been told to remind the surgeon, because low-sodium is rare enough that it's usually not tested for).

Usually I don't monitor the sodium in my diet at all. I don't seek it out or avoid it. I just pay attention to my blood sodium levels on my quarterly bloodwork. It's usually on the low end of the healthy range. If it comes in too low, my doctor will remind me to add a little salt for a few days.

I've had to take sodium supplements in the past, but since being aware of it, I just adjust my diet a little bit.

Because of my tendency to shed sodium, I also have to limit my fluid intake to about 3 liters daily. If I drank more on a consistent basis, I could be at risk for water intoxication (where enough sodium is washed out of the blood to risk cardiac arrest).

My mom (who has similar sodium issues) was hospitalized with water intoxication while only drinking about a gallon a day.

It puts sodium into perspective. It's just another case of "moderation" where moderation for one person can be very different than moderation for another.