Sodium's affect on water retention

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The recommended intake for sodium on MyFitnessPal is 2,300 milligrams, but this is upper intake that people should generally have.

If someone were to cut down to 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, would there be a considerable amount of less water retention?

I heard around the internet that 400 milligrams of extra sodium causes a 2 pound water weight increase. I'm not sure whether this is fact or fiction, but this would explain why so many people see significant weight fluctuations when they step on the scale.

Has anyone experienced less water retention when they cut their sodium intake down?

Replies

  • adoette
    adoette Posts: 181 Member
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    To the last line, yes.

    For people in my hospital who actually need to cut sodium or die, we usually only drop them down to 2grams. Which is 300 below the RDA.

    You can't cut sodium too far, because you actually need it to live. Hyponatremia is some scary stuff, and a pain to treat.

    If you want to cut your sodium, talk to your doctor first.
  • beckadaisy
    beckadaisy Posts: 16 Member
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    Less sodium will definitely decrease water retention, as long as edema is not an underlying condition. Keep in mind that any weight loss from this is not true "weight loss" because you are simply dehydrating yourself rather than losing fat.
    Haven't heard anything about 400mg NaCl = 2lb H20. Definitely does not seem right at all! Look at some peer reviewed studies if you want more information on this. Don't trust random internet people or clickbait non-scientific articles!
  • DresdenSinn
    DresdenSinn Posts: 665 Member
    edited June 2016
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    I just happen to be doing sodium/water/carb manipulation right now. I started last Friday (6/17) by increasing sodium to 3-4g/day while maintaining my regular water intake of 1gal/day. I gained 4lbs of water weight in 5days then lost 2lbs over the next 2 days. Yesterday I cut the sodium down to under 1g and increased water consumption to 2gal/day and lowered carbs to 20-30g/day. Today I'm under 500mg of sodium, almost at 2gal of water already and under 30g of carbs. I've lost 2lbs since I woke up yesterday. I will continue this protocol through Tuesday. Wednesday is "peak" day which is my Bday and I will eat, drink, and be merry damnit!
  • Cheesy567
    Cheesy567 Posts: 1,186 Member
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    Depends what type of diet you're following. I actually need to increase my sodium intake, up to 5000mg/ day. If I'm too low, my blood volume drops and throws off the scale.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,049 Member
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    The recommended intake for sodium on MyFitnessPal is 2,300 milligrams, but this is upper intake that people should generally have.

    If someone were to cut down to 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, would there be a considerable amount of less water retention?

    I heard around the internet that 400 milligrams of extra sodium causes a 2 pound water weight increase. I'm not sure whether this is fact or fiction, but this would explain why so many people see significant weight fluctuations when they step on the scale.

    Has anyone experienced less water retention when they cut their sodium intake down?

    I would really like to know if the bolded is true? That's sounds like a big weight increase for only an extra 400mg of salt.

  • JeromeBarry1
    JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,182 Member
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    I would really like to know if the bolded is true? That's sounds like a big weight increase for only an extra 400mg of salt.

    It's true, but, and here's were it gets complicated: For starters, the 2 lb water gain is attributed to 200 mg of sodium, not 400mg. It's also water so it's temporary, so don't panic. In an experiment I conducted on myself recently, I found that having a salty snack, a pickle, late in the evening did cause a water gain at the next morning weighing. I also showed that the same salty snack taken early in the day with 8 cups of water also taken in the day did not cause a water gain the next day. On days when I've gone thousands of mg of sodium over my plan, I've counted the days of my body excreting sodium and concluded that I eliminate about 500 mg of excess sodium each day. This makes sense, since my salty snack was about 300 mg sodium. Taking it 8 hours before weighing did not give my body time to excrete the unneeded sodium, so it remained on board with the water necessary to keep it in solution. Taking the pickle in the morning gave my body most of a full day to handle it and get rid of the unneeded sodium.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,049 Member
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    I would really like to know if the bolded is true? That's sounds like a big weight increase for only an extra 400mg of salt.

    It's true, but, and here's were it gets complicated: For starters, the 2 lb water gain is attributed to 200 mg of sodium, not 400mg. It's also water so it's temporary, so don't panic. In an experiment I conducted on myself recently, I found that having a salty snack, a pickle, late in the evening did cause a water gain at the next morning weighing. I also showed that the same salty snack taken early in the day with 8 cups of water also taken in the day did not cause a water gain the next day. On days when I've gone thousands of mg of sodium over my plan, I've counted the days of my body excreting sodium and concluded that I eliminate about 500 mg of excess sodium each day. This makes sense, since my salty snack was about 300 mg sodium. Taking it 8 hours before weighing did not give my body time to excrete the unneeded sodium, so it remained on board with the water necessary to keep it in solution. Taking the pickle in the morning gave my body most of a full day to handle it and get rid of the unneeded sodium.

    Wow, thank you so much for your detailed response, muchly appreciated :smiley:

  • sugaraddict4321
    sugaraddict4321 Posts: 15,736 MFP Moderator
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    ...Today I'm under 500mg of sodium, almost at 2gal of water already and under 30g of carbs. I've lost 2lbs since I woke up yesterday. I will continue this protocol through Tuesday. Wednesday is "peak" day which is my Bday and I will eat, drink, and be merry damnit!

    I am not a doctor but this sounds like a recipe for disaster if maintained very long. Besides, you probably didn't "lose" 2 pounds of fat. Odds are you've just flushed out a lot of water. ;) Just enjoy your birthday and don't do anything extreme before or after. Happy Birthday!
  • DresdenSinn
    DresdenSinn Posts: 665 Member
    edited June 2016
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    I appreciate your concern and thank you, but I know what I'm doing, I've done this every year for the past several years always with success, I understand the science behind it and it's limitations. It's a trick the competitive bodybuilders use to attain that "dry hard" look and although I'm a non-competitive bodybuilder I enjoy doing it for the "wow" factor and getting that freakish look :wink:
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,488 Member
    edited June 2016
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    ...Today I'm under 500mg of sodium, almost at 2gal of water already and under 30g of carbs. I've lost 2lbs since I woke up yesterday. I will continue this protocol through Tuesday. Wednesday is "peak" day which is my Bday and I will eat, drink, and be merry damnit!

    I am not a doctor but this sounds like a recipe for disaster if maintained very long. Besides, you probably didn't "lose" 2 pounds of fat. Odds are you've just flushed out a lot of water. ;) Just enjoy your birthday and don't do anything extreme before or after. Happy Birthday!

    IF you follow his food diary, his calorie intake is a bit sporadic, but there are days that are 1000+ to 1200.. etc .Go back several weeks the intake is up and down even up to 1800 but for the most past this poster follows a low calorie diet for a man at 44 years old.

    I have not clue what is behind this crazy sodium/carb/water with low calorie days, but this seems dangerous to say the least.

    It is funny that on his exercise diary, I see he gets -600 - 500 -400 - 300 calories in exercise.. I have never seen anyone's diary get every single day MINUS calories in exercise to this extreme.

    Open diary, bad advice to any one looking for an example to follow for weight loss.

    :D;)
  • DresdenSinn
    DresdenSinn Posts: 665 Member
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    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    ...Today I'm under 500mg of sodium, almost at 2gal of water already and under 30g of carbs. I've lost 2lbs since I woke up yesterday. I will continue this protocol through Tuesday. Wednesday is "peak" day which is my Bday and I will eat, drink, and be merry damnit!

    I am not a doctor but this sounds like a recipe for disaster if maintained very long. Besides, you probably didn't "lose" 2 pounds of fat. Odds are you've just flushed out a lot of water. ;) Just enjoy your birthday and don't do anything extreme before or after. Happy Birthday!

    It's funny that on his exercise diary, I see he gets -600 - 500 -400 - 300 calories in exercise.. I have never seen anyone's diary get every single day MINUS calories in exercise to this extreme.

    :D;)

    I take everything I do to the extreme ;)