One of the biggest challenges with accomplishing fitness goals is getting the proper nutrition – especially when you’re trying to lose weight. You’re eating the vegetables, you’re exercising regularly, you’re getting the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fats, but something isn’t working…what’s going on? One possible explanation is your sodium intake.
Sodium intake is one of the biggest inhibitors of losing weight. It dehydrates you, so your body has less capacity to fully function because you don’t have enough water in your system. This slows down digestion, thickens the blood, and in the end makes it harder to burn calories. Even if you drink enough water to balance out the salt, your blood has a higher water content than normal, increasing blood pressure and inhibiting you from working out at your true capacity. Additionally, eating too much salt can cause bloating and high water retention (we will talk about water weight in a different post – stay tuned). In our society, there is sodium in probably everything we ingest. Some brands of bottled water even have sodium in the water as a preservative to keep it fresh. Dietary needs and requirements vary, but on average the daily amount of sodium you should ingest is a table spoon.
Let’s set a scene: A group walks into a restaurant and places their orders. When the food comes, before even tasting the food a few members immediately grab the shaker and add salt to their meal.
Seem familiar? American culture has a high salt content in the food we eat. Let’s take a name brand soda, for example. One in America has about twice as much sodium than the exact same name brand soda in just about any other country in the world. And this is true for mor than just beverages – it’s true for most of the food we eat.
So what’s the point? If you’re struggling to reach your fitness goals, or you just want to make a step towards a healthier diet, monitor your salt intake. The good news is it’s a small adjustment, and is one of the easier adjustments to make regarding nutrition. Next time you’re cooking, at a restaurant, or even simply buying groceries, you can now be aware of how salt, like most good things, is only good in moderation.