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Old 06-28-2007, 12:36 PM   #1  
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Default Sodium... HELP! It's EVERYWHERE!

I've been doing very well with my diet, exercise, and weight loss progression, but there's one problem I keep encountering: SODIUM! I originally set a goal for myself to eat no more than 2,000mg of sodium a day, though once I felt like that was impossible, I tried raising it to 2,400 (which is the RDA). My problem is, I usually eat between 2,400-3,500mg of sodium a day... and that scares me, because I KNOW it's an unhealthy amount.

So what I want to know is...
1. How bad is sodium for you, really? I recently upped my 8-10 glasses of water to 12-15 (uh huh... a gallon and a half or so... it makes me pee every 5 seconds ). How much will I really retain?

2. What are some ways that I can avoid extensive amounts of sodium? And does anyone else struggle with this? I have no problem eating a diet low in carbs and fats, but sodium just kills me.
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:38 PM   #2  
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Also... I know there are health risks to a diet high in sodium, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol... but I have neither...
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:45 PM   #3  
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I peeked at your FitDay and was not surprised to see many processed foods there. I don't really know the answer to your question about how bad sodium is, so I'll leave that for more informed folks. But the way to kick it out is to eat fewer processed foods. Whether that's doable for you or not is something you've got to decide. It can be tough to give up the convenience of processed food. But I eat mostly whole foods and don't even have to worry about the sodium intake because it's always relatively low.

Congratulations on your progress! Even if your sodium stays high, you are making good dietary choices in terms of the fat and carbs, which seems to be your focus.
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:55 PM   #4  
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Sodium is one of those things that does damage over time (like saturated fats), so even if you don't have HBP now, you may later. Unfortuately, salt makes food taste good and food processors put it into everything (and in large amounts.)

I eat very little in the way of processed food and I'm able to keep my sodium below 2400mg. Most days it's even lower than that. HBP runs in my family though, so I try to be very careful. I used to love salty foods, but after awhile you become accustom to less salty foods. Eating out can be hard for me now because everything tastes too salty at most places.

I know that not everyone is willing to cook as much as I do. So I would suggest looking for lower sodium options. It may be hard to locate some types of foods in low-sodium forms, but I think the search is worth it health wise.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:06 PM   #5  
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First, in terms of -weight loss-, as long as sodium doesn't cause water-weight-retention for you, it isn't going to slow your losses. And my perspective is - which is more likely to cause high blood pressure, being overweight or eating a little too much sodium? So if you find that in your weight loss, it is easier for you to stay on plan with a little more sodium, I say go for it. your weight loss will lower your risk for high bp.

That being said, I think most people who embark on this weight loss journey ultimately make the switch to cleaner, less processed foods. This will automatically reduce your sodium intake as you move along.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:13 PM   #6  
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If you cant get away from processed foods you cant get away from sodium, in my opinion. I tend to eat a lot of whole foods so sodium isnt really an issue. I dont eat whole foods for the lower sodium though. I do it cause whole foods keep me fuller longer and i just feel better eating as much whole food as possible, comparied to processed.

But like you, i too wonder, what is the big deal with sodium if you are drinking enough water?

I have problems with kidney stones and sodium can help form them. So i do keep sodium in the back of mind. But if you dont have kidney problems, high blood pressure problems, or congestive heart failure, something that is a problem with retaining water...then what is the big deal with sodium? I mean obviously it is not wise to eat as much sodium as my father, who has vienna sausages with canned chicken noodle soup and pringles for lunch EVERYDAY...yes, i am serious. He called the other day to say his stomach hurt. (he always calls for medical advice)...we went over his diet and found that he eats OVER 6000 of sodium a day...geeze, no wonder his stomach hurt, but his fat content was through the roof as well. So was it the sodium or the fat? He cut his sodium and his stomach feels better, but what he doesnt know was that by cutting the sodium, he also cut the fat. But if you are eating a healthy diet then your sodium surely cant get THAT out of hand. Hope that makes sense.

Personally, I am more concerned with getting enough antioxidents than i am with getting too much sodium. So i guess we all have our things that we feel are imporant for our health, to me, sodium is just not one of them, if it is not in excess, of course.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:16 PM   #7  
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^^Yeah, what they said!

Additionally, high sodium intake has been linked to bone loss. That is a concern for any woman, I imagine!
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:20 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieDawn View Post
I peeked at your FitDay and was not surprised to see many processed foods there. I don't really know the answer to your question about how bad sodium is, so I'll leave that for more informed folks. But the way to kick it out is to eat fewer processed foods. Whether that's doable for you or not is something you've got to decide. It can be tough to give up the convenience of processed food. But I eat mostly whole foods and don't even have to worry about the sodium intake because it's always relatively low.

Congratulations on your progress! Even if your sodium stays high, you are making good dietary choices in terms of the fat and carbs, which seems to be your focus.
Yeah... I work 10 hours a day and so I wake up early and don't feel like cooking. Then, I'm at work, so I bring things to work that I can either munch on or heat up.

When I get home, I don't feel like cooking either, but sometimes I do anyway. It will be hard to remove processed foods from my diet for reasons of, yep, convenience... but maybe if I cut back on them, it'll be better for me.

And you're right - fat and carbs are my focus. I'm trying to only eat "good" fats and "good" carbs. and thanks for the congrats
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:27 PM   #9  
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Processed foods are easy. Whole foods take time and preparation. I eat whole foods while raw... but I'm not going to go on a complete raw fruit and veggie diet. I just wonder how people find the time... cooking is like an event for me; there are only a handful of things I make well, so anytime I'm trying to cook something, I follow the recipe to a degree of insanity.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:30 PM   #10  
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Since your GF likes to feed you, could you have her cook specific things the healthy way so you could take them to work? Could you spend a few hours on the weekends cooking together for the week and then portioning out the servings?
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:35 PM   #11  
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Eating less pre-packaged foods is definitely something I'll be working on ASAP - as you've noticed, I'm a bit worried about my sodium, too. Fresh fruits and veggies definitely seem like the way to go, as they often require no accompaniment and are portable/easy.

Something that may not be much help to you (because it doesn't seem like your sodium is coming from your own salt-shaker) is that they sell "low-sodium salt" substitutes that - as far as I know - are safe to use and have either less sodium than actual salt or none at all, depending on which you buy. I haven't researched these salt replacements, but I'm assuming better safe than sorry and using them in moderation. They taste just fine for me.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:37 PM   #12  
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Quote:
cooking is like an event for me; there are only a handful of things I make well, so anytime I'm trying to cook something, I follow the recipe to a degree of insanity.
Its not something you know how to do at first. I cook every night, and do some prep in the morning so that I can have a whole foods, healthy meal on the table within 30 min of getting home from the gym. Just ease into it!
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:47 PM   #13  
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Since your GF likes to feed you, could you have her cook specific things the healthy way so you could take them to work? Could you spend a few hours on the weekends cooking together for the week and then portioning out the servings?
That is a good idea, though I don't think she knows *how* to cook things the healthy way - well, I've gotten her to eliminate some fats, but not sodium. Maybe low sodium cooking is just something I need to experiment with to get it right.
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:50 PM   #14  
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It has not been proven that sodium "causes" high blood pressure!

People who already have high blood pressure should avoid sodium because it causes water retention that can increase blood pressure, but eating sodium will not GIVE you high blood pressure.

There is no correlation with cholesterol. High cholesterol DOES correlate with carbohydrate (yes, carbohydrate) over-consumption.

The water retention is a good reason not to eat too much sodium.

Drink enough water and you won't need to worry about it.

Jay
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:10 PM   #15  
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Have to agree... it is the processed foods. I know it is hard with your work schedule but I also am gone 11 hours per day with my commute but I have learned that with just a bit of preparation and planning I can do it. I cook in large batches... like a crockpot or a large shepherd's pie and freeze portions. Also try to keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand. It is mostly a habit.
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