An interesting story happened the other day, one I am sure many people can relate to.
You have been eating as healthy as you can, possibly on a diet, the scale is dropping, and then you treat yourself, or by circumstance, end up having a restaurant meal.
Naturally, you expect any food to be a little higher in sodium for both preservation purposes and for seasoning.
You expect the scale to be up tomorrow since the sodium will cause you to hold water weight.
The next day, bingo, you are up two pounds.
So that following day you drink your water, flushing the excess sodium out, and watch your salt. The following day it looks like things are returning to equilibrium.
Another day passes, and you are up another pound.
What happened? It can’t be water weight.
You watched your sodium. In fact, you were even below your normal sodium to counteract the restaurant meal.
Could it be your metabolism has already adjusted to your calories? No, that can’t be.
You worked out yesterday, and you definitely worked hard.
What is going on here? Maybe you are holding water still from the excess salt.
Let’s go low salt again, and get rid of this water.
Stepping on the scale the next day, you see you are up three pounds from before.
Things are looking grim. The walls are closing in. Your head is spinning…
This seems like a particularly tricky situation, and I’ve painted a somewhat unrealistically bleak one here.
However the solution is simpler than it looks.
A hormone called aldosterone helps stimulate sodium reabsorption.
If you consume very little sodium, blood pressure will decrease.
Once this blood pressure is low enough, the body will release aldosterone from the kidneys.
Aldosterone will signal to the kidneys to retain more sodium; leading to water being retained.
The opposite is true. If you consumed a large amount of sodium; the renin-angiotensin system would lead to the kidneys excreting the excess sodium.
So when it comes to sodium, going high or low can a situation of “cursed if you do, cursed if you don’t.”
There are many ways that sodium helps the body function optimally. The American Heart Association’s daily recommended limit of 1500mg helps preserve this optimum efficiency.
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