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Sodium. What's the deal?

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Old 01-10-2008, 10:12 AM   #1
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Default Sodium. What's the deal?

What is the deal with sodium anyway?... Alot of people on here use Fitday, as do I, and I recently noticed that it tracks my sodium intake. So, what is too much? What is 'normal'? I am a fairly active person with very good blood pressure and have never thought too much about sodium. I'm curious - what are the benefits of monitoring your sodium intake?
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:07 PM   #2
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I'm no doctor...but I know too much sodium is just too much. It causes my body to retain water, it causes me to bloat, and it prevents the scale from going down. I believe the RDA is 2400 mg....on that note, I try to get less than that and some days I do and some days I don't. It is amazing how much sodium is in a turkey & cheese sandwich from Subway!!!

Four things I focus on with my diet : calories, fat, fiber, sodium....
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:26 PM   #3
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Some people are more sensitive to sodium than others. There are many people, even some with high blood pressure who have little or no problem with it. For example, I have mild high blood pressure, but sodium does not affect my blood pressure, and my blood levels of sodium run very low, sometimes too low. Low blood levels of sodium isn't particularly common (though not rare either). I attribute it to the particular high blood pressure medication I take, the amount of water I drink, the fact that I have less of a "salt tooth" than most people, and just plain genetics or luck.

Although sodium doesn't affect my blood pressure, it does tend to contribute to water retention for me, so if I eat something higher in sodium than I normally would (such as chinese food, restaurant food in general, or a frozen dinner or canned soup) I drink an extra glass or two of water. I generally avoid foods high in sodium within 3 days of my TOPS meeting weigh-in and also around TOM when I tend to retain water anyway.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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Gator: So, ya know what I just had for lunch? A turkey and cheese sandwich! LOL! I guess that means I should drink a few extra classes of water today then.....So, you focus on calories, fat, fiber and sodium. I'm thinking I should try to focus on more than just calories and carbs (as I do now); especially the fiber part. Fiber can be hard to get when watching carbs. I just find myself unsatisfied and hungry all the time when I am consuming too many carbs. More beans maybe?? As for sodium, I think I will watch it a bit, as my Fitday shows I average 2400 grams or more a day...SIGH...

kaplods: How lucky you are not to have a salt tooth - salt is my fave! It's a good thing that your blood pressure maintains well regardless of sodium intake - from what I have learned about sodium today that means you are very fortunate!
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #5
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For me, I did post on sodium elsewhere here, but neglected to mention that I too, drink a ton of water. 24 ounces with each main meal, then inbetween each meal (except after dinner, don't wanna be up all night!) I love those little packs of on-the-go "crystal light" type juice powders. I like the one for energy and the raspberry lemonade with fiber (trust me it's super yummy), and I totally agree that drinking water does offset the sodium a little, plus it's so good for your skin and weight loss and your body.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:39 PM   #6
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wish4fit, I think I am a little unusual in that I grew up in a household that used very little salt, and almost never at the table. About the only foods I remember my mother ever bringling salt to the table for were tomatoes and corn on the cob. However, as to people being less sensitive to sodium, it's actually the newer research that suggests that sodium has an adverse on fewer people than it was previously thought.

I think it's very important for people to pay close attention to their own bodies and what works for them, rather than believing there is a one-size-fits-all approach. My mother had to be hospitalizeddue to water intoxication because she followed the very common diet advice to drink a lot of water and not count caffeine. She was only drinking about a gallon of liquids a day, but she very nearly died as it was too much water for her. An amount that most people would have had no problem with, but being on a blood pressure medication that was potassium-sparing (and thus sodium shedding) even though it was a low dose and eating little added salt, though not a low sodium diet - the gallon of fluids (all of which, even coffee count) was enough to wash too much sodium out of her blood.

Not caring for salt and being on the same blood pressure medication puts me at risk for water intoxication too, so my prescribed limit is no more than 3 quarts of liquids. I've also found after a year of being caffeine free, that caffeine helps relieve some of my fibromyalgia symptoms. So while I think most people would assume eliminating caffeine, limiting sodium, and drinking a lot of water would be excellent heath advice for everyone, that isn't the case for me as the combination of less sodium and more water could make me very ill.

My understanding is that while my situation isn't the norm, it also isn't all that uncommon. More and more otherwise healthy people are put on blood-pressure medicationw that are potassium-sparing because the american diet is much higher in sodium than it is potassium. Most doctors don't know or don't think to warn such patients against drinking more than 3 or 4 quarts of fluid on these medications - because most people, even most dieters don't drink that much, and the "old wisdom" was that water intoxication was nearly impossible.

I very much believe in an annual check-up with routine blood tests as a minimum (more if you're on medications) and Knowing what your blood test results are and what they mean. There's no substitute for knowing your own body.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:40 PM   #7
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Wish - honestly, although I know I should....I don't watch my carbs because I feel that fiber intake is more important. Heart Healthy 3fc just did a cluck on fibergourmet.com - as did hungry girl - 2oz. pasta with only 130 calories, 1 gram fat & 20 grams fiber (wowza!)...oh, and only 120 mg. sodium..not bad at all paired with a light sauce...I'm placing an order for it tonight....all reviews came in great. I also get fiber in through Slim Fast (5 gr fiber), Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Granola Bars(9 gr fiber) (yummy) All Bran Brown Sugar Cinnamon Snack Bites (5 gr fiber) and once or twice a week I have Arnold's Double Fiber Bread (5 gr fiber/slice)....My daily goal is to get in at least 25 gr of fiber....I'm also thinking about attempting to hit some protein goals...but that is once I get more motivated to do so.

Can't wait to get that pasta in!!! Yum!
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:53 AM   #8
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i found myself have a high sodiun intake too.
i dip my veggies and season my soup with soy sauce
and i put salt into coke.

is there other way besides using salt?
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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I watch my sodium and average under 2300mg. The RDA I believe is no more than 2300mg. Not everyone with High Blood Pressure is related to sodium but if they determine it is then the recommendation is no more than 1500mg.

I think that would be tough. I work pretty hard and keeping below 2300mg. As long as I am not eating any processed foods it is easy but all it takes is more than 1 processed food item per day to zap you past that limit.

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