When it comes to slimming down, it’s a well-known fact that eating right and getting active is the best way to achieve your weight loss goals. But even when you think you’re doing everything right, sneaky items in your diet can derail your progress without you even realizing it. What about sodium? Can the sodium in your food be causing your weight loss to slow down, stop, or even reverse altogether? In this article, we will discuss exactly that.
The question of whether or not sodium causes weight gain has a surprisingly simple answer. No, sodium, or salt, in and of itself does not cause an individual to gain weight that is fat-related. It does, however, cause a temporary weight gain due to fluid retention, but this lasts for only a short time (if the individual cuts back on how much sodium they are taking in). So while you are working hard to lower the fat percentage of your body, fluid retention will not affect this other than cosmetically. However, that doesn’t mean that taking in excess sodium does not come with its health and weight issues.
Foods that are filled with sodium tend to be processed and contain other components, such as sugar and fat, that are not beneficial to the body. In fact, these foods are known to cause weight gain due to these other components. Think of some of the saltiest meals and snacks that you take in. Items such as chips, cookies, fast food items, and processed soups are loaded with sodium. But they are also filled with sugar and fat that can cause weight gain when eaten to excess.
As mentioned previously, the ingestion of excess sodium really only causes the body to hold onto fluid. While this does not directly impact a body’s fat percentage, it will show on the scale and cosmetically. For example, if you eat something that is simply too salty and then step on the scale, you may be surprised to see that you are showing a weight gain of 2 or 3 pounds.
If you take your measurements, you may even see that you are measuring larger than you thought you would. If you feel bloated and you are experiencing swelling, you simply need to lower your sodium intake to what is considered normal. This will help you to shed excess water weight caused by the salty foods you were eating and help you to begin losing weight again. However, it is important to remember that the weight loss due to cutting back on salt is not related to fat – just fluid.
When the body does hold onto this excess fluid, it can cause more issues than just a temporary water weight gain. The fluid can place an extra amount of pressure on the blood vessels, especially around the kidneys, that forces them to work harder. And too much sodium in the body can begin to cause kidney disease, high blood pressure, and damage done to the arteries. While damage to the arteries is something that occurs over time, there is a point where simply cutting back on how much sodium is allowed into the body will not help to reverse the damage that has been done.
So when it comes to whether or not sodium causes weight gain, salt itself will not cause a person to hold onto excess weight like fat will. But pay attention to your diet. If you are taking in food that is high in sodium as well as fat and sugar, the weight you are putting on may be fat rather than fluid. But even if the weight you are gaining is related to water retention, you do not want to keep up a diet that is full of excess sodium. When you take in normal amounts of sodium, you keep away from the uncomfortable feeling of bloating, you look better, and you help your kidneys and heart to function well without the risk of irreversible damage.
We recommend speaking with your primary healthcare provider in order to learn what a healthy amount of sodium is for you and your needs. We wish you luck on your journey to reaching your ideal weight.