How does sodium affect weight loss?

Hi guys.

I have a medical problem where I have extremely low blood pressure, so I am prescribed salt to raise it.

I'm supposed to have twice as much salt as normal in order to keep from fainting.

I know when losing weight, you are supposed to avoid sodium, but clearly my health comes first so I can't.

How will this affect my weight loss? What can I do to even it out? I already drink a ton of water.

Replies

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    It doesn't....

    more sodium might make you retain a bit more fluid...that's it...it has no bearing on fat loss.
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
    Weight loss is reflected by the scale, and influenced by a number of factors - the smallest being actual loss of body mass. So be careful when focusing on weight loss as the scale can be very misleading.

    In that regard - relative to scale weight - sodium can have an impact. Increase in sodium can lead to a bit of additional water retention, which can lead to a small increase on the scale. At some point, water retention from sodium will level off, and that will be you're new baseline.

    As others have said, your goal should be to lose fat, and sodium has no impact on that.
  • holly55555
    holly55555 Posts: 307 Member
    Awesome, that's just what I was hoping to hear. It's definitely a bummer that salt makes me just as puffy as anyone else, but I'd rather be conscious than perfectly thin, haha! I'm glad I can still lose the excess fat without struggle though!
  • I regularly eat twice or more the daily salt allowance. I tracked it for a few months and brought it up with my doctor at my 3-month evaluation after beginning the diet/lifestyle/journey/change. Whatever. He was going to put me on cholesterol and blood pressure meds because of the labs in summer, which had a big part in my decision to finally get in there and DO this thing. A few weeks ago, he told me all my numbers looked good and were normal. I brought up the salt thing, and he said that some people simply don't react to salt and with my numbers what they were, not to worry about it.

    But keep in mind I'm consistent. There aren't large scale variations because I eat about the same amount most days-too much.

    Give it a try and keep in mind that your body will react to variations in salt levels and that will show up on the scale. It can be very, very disheartening to see an increase when you've been doing everything right and not be sure whether you've not been as successful as you thought or maybe it's just a vagary of salt or your cycle. It can be just as disheartening to see a big drop and then a day or two later such a big gain that it has to be something like salt or your cycle. But maybe that's just me. I can fluctuate up to 5 pounds in a 24-hour period for no obvious reason. So I weigh myself once a month and am very strict about counting calories and logging accurately-I use that for accountability instead of a scale.

    So, I wouldn't worry too much, just be aware it could cause the scale to jump around and you might have to rely more on accurate and thorough logging to be certain you're on track instead of assuming you have a general idea of what you're ingesting and then counting on the scale to tell you whether it's paid off, at least on a day-to-day basis (and probably a week-to-week, too).
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    If you are taking additional sodium because of low blood pressure, you have less sodium than the average person anyway. Whatever you've read about sodium and losing weight doesn't apply to you.
  • holly55555
    holly55555 Posts: 307 Member
    So, I wouldn't worry too much, just be aware it could cause the scale to jump around and you might have to rely more on accurate and thorough logging to be certain you're on track instead of assuming you have a general idea of what you're ingesting and then counting on the scale to tell you whether it's paid off, at least on a day-to-day basis (and probably a week-to-week, too).

    You know, my scale weight fluctuates like crazy, so this makes sense! I just log my weight as the lowest number I've seen.
    If you are taking additional sodium because of low blood pressure, you have less sodium than the average person anyway. Whatever you've read about sodium and losing weight doesn't apply to you.

    I have never thought of this! That really makes sense. Thank you!
  • SueInAz
    SueInAz Posts: 6,592 Member
    You might find that tracking on a weekly basis works better for you because of the fluctuations in your water weight. I'd also highly suggest that you use a measuring tape to record your progress, too. The combination will tell a better story than the scale alone.
  • sympha01
    sympha01 Posts: 942 Member
    I used to be hypertensive, and once I lost a lot of weight my blood pressure has dropped to the low side of normal. I've switched from a very low sodium diet to a more "normal" sodium intake. During the transition period I just sucked it up and knew that my scale wouldn't show me my weight loss. Once my sodium intake had normalized over a couple of weeks, the scale become more helpful again.

    I do know that day-to-day fluctuations in my sodium intake can make weigh-ins frustrating, and just to maintain motivation and morale I try to keep my sodium intake fairly stable. It has no bearing on fat loss, it just makes it harder to see on the scale.