Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Inadvertant Sodium Experiment

Jeff and I have been doing fantastic on our new diet and exercise regime, losing weight at a regular and consistent rate.  We've been paying attention to our calories, fat, carbs and protein but have not paid any attention to sodium.  

We've always been told that too much sodium is bad for us. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid which can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at higher risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Whenever you have high blood pressure, it causes your heart to have to work a lot harder and it can cause damage to blood vessels and the heart muscle itself. So too much sodium is definitely a bad thing, but our bodies still need some sodium to function properly.

Sodium is an electrolyte, and our bodies need electrolytes to control blood pressure and blood volume.   Sodium is also important for normal nerve and muscle function.  However a person in our age group (late 40's) should only have between 1500 and 2300mg of sodium per day.  One teaspoon of table salt has 2300mg.

Last night for supper, we had wonton soup...two bowls each. 

This morning when we got up and did our regular weigh-in, we were shocked to see that we had both gained weight - significantly.  Jeff gained two pounds, and I gained a pound and a half.  That's when it hit me that we probably had too much sodium last night and were retaining water.

Our delicious wonton soup had about 1000mg per bowl....and we each had two bowls.  We also had popcorn with popcorn seasoning (which is salt) and that's an additional 485mg.  Adding up the sodium we had in the rest of our meals yesterday, we both had between 3500 and 4000mg of sodium.  So due to all the excess sodium Jeff and I ate yesterday, our bodies retained water and it showed up on the scale this morning.  Even though it resulted in weight gain, it was kind of a neat experiment to see the effects of salt on the body.  Today we worked out hard - I did extra time on the treadmill and increased the speed to sweat out that extra sodium and water.  Hopefully tomorrow we'll see weight loss again after all the sweating today.

FYI, the following foods are known to be high in sodium:
  • Foods made in brine (pickles, olives, sauerkraut)
  • Salty and Smoked Meats (bologna, corned beef, bacon, ham, sausage, lunch meats)
  • Salty and Smoke Fish (anchovies, caviar, dried fish, smoked salmon, sardines, herring)
  • Snack/Junk Food (potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, salted nuts, crackers)
  • Condiments (season salts, Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, ketchup, mustard, teriyaki, mustard)
  • Cheese
  • Salad Dressing
  • Soups (canned or instant)