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It’s well known that too much sodium in our diets can lead to health problems such as heart disease, but despite this, reports show that Americans are still consuming close to twice the recommended limit every day. As well as being part of an unhealthy lifestyle, too much sodium in your diet makes it more difficult to lose weight. Here we explain more about how sodium can stall weight loss, and give you some great tips to cut down on sodium in your diet to improve your health and weight loss results.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day – or, 1,500mg if you’re over 51, of African descent, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. As with many minerals and nutrients, a small amount of sodium each day is essential for good health. Your body needs sodium to function properly as it helps to maintain the right balance of fluids in your body, helps transmit nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles. However, unlike many important nutrients which are often lacking in our modern diets, it’s unlikely that you aren’t getting enough sodium. You may think that you don’t consume that much sodium, but many of us aren’t aware of just how much sodium is in our diet; a single teaspoon of salt contains 2,325mg of sodium (which is around the daily limit right there), and many processed and prepared foods contain additional sodium even if you don’t add salt to dishes yourself.
As well as the direct effects that it has on our health, consuming too much sodium also affects weight loss. Eating salty foods causes bloating and an increase in water weight, so although you won’t gain fat, you will feel bigger and won’t see the scale drop as much as you would like. Disappointing scale readings can affect you psychologically and destroy your motivation; if you feel like you’re doing everything right but if the scale doesn’t show that you’ve lost then you’re more likely to give in to temptation or quit altogether.
By cutting down on the sodium in your diet, you will flush out the water weight that your body is retaining and the scale will reflect this, encouraging and motivating you to continue. Drinking lots of water also helps to get rid of water weight. This is because your body recognizes that it has a steady supply and therefore doesn’t need to hold on to this excess water any longer. Plus, all this water will also help to suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism and keep your body working at its best. For even better results, we recommend Phen Drink, a specially formulated detox drink that’s easily added to water to help release toxins and reset your body for better weight loss results. Plus, its sweet and fruity taste is perfect for curbing any cravings for soda, another one of your weight loss enemies!
Something else to consider is that, if you are consuming too much sodium, your diet probably isn’t very healthy. Most foods high in sodium are processed or prepared foods which are also likely to contain high levels of sugar, saturated fat, additives and preservatives, such as cured meats, fast food, sauces and tinned soup. So, getting too much sodium may only be a part of the bigger problem of an unhealthy diet low in natural whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. Therefore, by not limiting the amount of sodium in your diet, in addition to increasing your chances of suffering from the heart problems associated with this, you are likely to increase the likeliness of suffering from additional health issues associated with an unhealthy diet, such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, which make future chances of weight loss much more difficult. Losing weight for good requires a long-term approach, which means permanently changing unhealthy habits for healthy ones. A good healthy habit to adopt is to cut down on processed foods full of sodium in favor of fresh whole foods to benefit your health and weight loss results in many ways.
As many foods high in sodium are also unhealthy, aiming to cut down on the sodium in your diet will help you to lose fat as well as help you to shift water weight. Plus, it’s a win for your health too, meaning a healthier and more efficient body! These tips will help you to cut down on sodium:
Most fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium, and fresh meat is lower in sodium than luncheon meat, sausages, ham and bacon. Buy fresh or frozen poultry or meat and save on calories and fat as well as salt.
You can leave out the salt in many recipes, including soups, salads, casseroles, stews, and other main dishes that you cook. Using citrus fruits, olive oil, herbs and spices instead of just relying on salt will give your dishes more flavor and also more health benefits as many spices boost metabolism and help you burn calories.
Buy healthy carbs like whole grain pasta and brown rice to make meals from scratch as much as possible, and if you can, cook in bulk and freeze the rest for another day when you’re pushed for time. If your freezer is tight on space, be sure to clear out the salt and additive-laden ready meals, frozen pizzas and burgers from your freezer to make way for your own homemade ‘ready meals’.
If you do buy processed foods, such as tinned products or deli meats, choose those that are labeled ‘low sodium’ wherever possible.
Soy sauce, salad dressings, sauces, dips, mustard, relish and ketchup all contain sodium. Making your own sauces and dips can help you to cut down on salt and also added sugar, and by making them yourself then you know all the ingredients are fresh and natural with no colorants or preservatives.
As with sugar, your taste for salt is acquired, so you can learn to enjoy less. By decreasing your use of salt gradually your taste buds will adjust as you become more able to appreciate the taste of the food itself, and with heart-healthy benefits. Cutting down will also help you to avoid the scale fluctuations that come with over-consuming sodium, meaning that your weight loss will be steadier and more motivating. And, as over-consuming sodium is associated with an unhealthy diet, and possibly lifestyle, whereby weight gain and illness go hand in hand, so by cutting back, you can improve both your health and your chances of weight loss for the long term.
Do you have any tips to cut down your sodium intake? Let us know by commenting below!