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Water, water everywhere? How about salt, salt, everywhere!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We used to have to memorize poetry in school back in the stone age. Do they even do that anymore? “Water, water everywhere and nary a drop to drink.” As I remember, that was the lament of the Ancient Mariner as he was surrounded by undrinkable salt water.

That’s not a problem for us anymore, at least in this country. Water comes free from our faucets and in plastic bottles if, while out and about, we forget to bring or run out of our own. After my morning coffee and OJ, I ONLY drink water

A comment on my Nov 8th blog entry asked how my weight has been so stable (within tenths) over the last few months. I began to wonder about that too. I’ve been in maintenance for almost 3 years, but my weight in that time has always varied by a few pounds one way or the other. Water weight I figured accounted for that. No big deal. Still, all of a sudden something is different and I’m drinking the same amount of water.

At first I thought it was because I became active on SP, determined as I was not to mess up now with my membership in the 5% right on the horizon. That may have had something to do with it, but then I remembered one other big change. Since I never had a blood pressure problem, in fact, it runs on the low side, I never before was concerned with salt intake. We don’t even have a salt shaker on the table, so how could it be a problem for us.

In September I added salt as a nutrient to measure on my tracker. I was surprised to see the wild daily fluctuations depending on which of my “favorites” I had eaten. I’ve been carefully reading labels for a long time now, but concentrating on calories, carbs, fat, protein and calcium. Yikes, salt is everywhere!! I began to actively keep within recommended limits, aiming for the middle of the range as much as possible. Strange how I never considered this before. More salt leads to more water retention and vice versa.

Ancient Rome used to pay its soldiers partly with salt. Salt is a necessary nutrient, not to mention one of the first preservatives. It’s also something I intend to keep in check.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I believe highly in the nutrition tracker. I'm thankful that Spark People has made it easier to keep an eye on all we eat. Ihave been shocked many times about salt. It is something I have to watch in numbers.
    Enjoyed your blog.
    emoticon Janis
    2581 days ago
    So very true for many people! I'm actually one of those lucky freaks of nature who has my doctor's permission to go liberal on the salt (along with other goodies like extra coffee) due to very low blood pressure that has occasionally led to fainting spells. I also sweat a lot when I exercise so I need that extra salt and other electrolytes (I have special tabs that I put in my water when I workout) to keep me in check and prevent the dreaded nighttime leg cramps, ouch! Fortunately, the extra salt doesn't seem to affect my weight. The blips I see now are usually the result of extra volume but I think my body's accustomed to the sodium now.
    2581 days ago
    With low pressure, don't watch the salt at all (not saying this is a good thing). But now you have me thinking about the flunctuations and maybe that is part of the cause - 2 lbs up from yesterday to today but that doesn't matter at all to me. I did add in salt snacks the last two days because I am experimenting to what I want to eat, how things taste, what the scale does, and the amount of calories I can eat for maintenance.
    2581 days ago
    Salt is everywhere! Especially in processed food. And there are insane amounts in fast food which is why I haven't eaten fast food (including Subway which is just as bad as any burger or taco joint) since March 2011. Now that my blood pressure is down from barely controlled on meds to the low end of normal, I am a little more relaxed about my salt intake. But I still remain aware of the need to STAY aware of salt, still avoid fast food and still amazed that it is so hard to keep sodium intake at a reasonable level.
    2581 days ago
    It is everywhere and we all can eat too much of it. great idea to add it to your tracker.

    2581 days ago
    Since my wife's kidneys failed, we really have had to watch the salt. Even though I sometimes think I'm being good, the food tracker tells a different story. The good thing is that I used to add salt to everything - now there are very few foods that taste better with added salt.
    2582 days ago
    2582 days ago
    Be careful on interpreting what is a normal amount of salt to take daily. Those recommendation are for the typical sedentary adult, not for athletes or those who train vigorously in a heated environment.
    Also, one must take into account their individual perspiration levels, which can fluctuate a lot. F'rinstance, I perspire heavily, and must ingest more salt than the average runner, therefore much more than a couch potato.
    Salt or sodium ingestion is a delicate balancing act, and must be individualized.
    Just my 2 cents. Good blog! (as usual).
    2582 days ago
  • MAGGIE101857
    I am always amazed at the salt contents in products that I would never think of. I cut my breakfast in half yesterday because of the salt content. Avoiding packaged foods like DARJR50 said is a must in the battle. Great job on staying stable!!!!
    2582 days ago
    Very good self-analysis. You're doing great!
    2582 days ago
  • no profile photo DARJR50
    Salt is the most difficult item on my list to keep in check. We need it but not in such great quantities as they put in packaged foods. This is why I am slowly getting away from anything packaged.
    2582 days ago
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