It has been estimated that many people in the UK and USA could be carrying up to an extra 5lbs of excess weight due to the effects that a high salt intake has on the body. Heavier people may experience more water retention especially if their intake of processed and convenience foods is high. There have been cases where people have retained as much as 8- 10lbs in fluid.
In the majority of cases excess weight is mostly made up of extra fat stores but it should not be overlooked that a small amount of weight gain is due to water retention as a result of too much salt being consumed. When salt intake exceeds the amount that the body can handle it builds up in the interstitial areas and the kidneys have to work harder in order to expel the excess salt from the body. Have you noticed that after consuming salty foods you feel thirsty? This is because your kidneys are sending a message to your brain that more water is needed in order to flush the excess sodium that you have consumed out of the body. This is why Pubs and Bars have salted peanuts and pretzels for free on the counter so that we eat them, become thirsty, and then buy more drinks. If you continue to consume too much sodium eventually a build up causes the body to hold extra fluids in the blood; which can result in high blood pressure, excess water weight gain, and congestive heart failure.
The BBC reports that adults are advised to consume no more than 6g salt per day (about one teaspoon). Current intake is about 9g per day – that is 50 per cent higher than is recommended for good health. It is important to get into the habit of reading labels on food, especially processed foods, the BBC offers advice on How to Reduce your Sodium intake. Research has found that some ready-made supermarket curries contain as much as 18.45 grams of salt per portion, this is three times the recommended amount of 6 grams. This is why it is not good to eat ready meals often, if you do have a ready meal you should not sprinkle additional salt.
This week it was also reported in the London Metro newspaper that the salt levels in Caribbean food are dangerously high. The results of their research was quite shocking, some popular caribbean dishes had as much as 38 times the amount of salt found in a packet of walkers ready salted crisps.
It is never too late to reduce your salt intake. When an individual reduces their sodium intake it will help them to lose weight. Initially the weight loss will be due to no longer retaining water; but it is possible to gain long-term results by switching to a healthy low-fat, high fiber diet. By including fruit and vegetables, 100% whole grains, nuts and beans; you set yourself up for success to lose weight and keep it off.