Why Does Salt Make You Gain Weight?

Why Does Salt Make You Gain Weight?

Sodium in Your Biochemistry
Many processes in the body require salt, or sodium, an essential mineral. Salt helps to balance sugars in the blood, aids in cell function, helps the intestines absorb nutrients and regulates fluid and electrolyte balance in our bodies, to name a few functions. However, too much salt can throw many bodily functions off balance and result in a number of adverse consequences, including weight gain.

How Salt Causes Weight Gain
Too much salt signals the body to retain water. Water helps the body to absorb the excess sodium and eventually flush it out. However, a consistently high salt intake never allows this natural "flushing" mechanism to take place, or at least slows it significantly. This results in weight gain in the form of fluid---not fat. A person can carry up to 3 pounds---and in some dire cases, even more---of extra water weight in his body due to too much sodium intake.

In addition, this high-salt scenario can cause the blood pressure to rise. This results in hypertension, which in turn stresses the body's cardiovascular system. What's more, too much salt can interfere with kidney and digestive function, resulting in even more weight gain and possibly serious medical problems from excess buildup of toxins in the body.

How to Lower Your Salt Intake
The maximum daily recommended salt intake for adults is about 2300mg, or about 1 tsp. People who need to watch their salt intake should aim for significantly less than this. Consult your physician to find out just how much salt you should consume.

Reducing salt intake almost always necessitates dietary and lifestyle changes. Avoid processed, convenient and packaged foods, especially fast food. These usually contain a great deal of sodium. Also avoid using salt when cooking and adding table salt to food. Pay attention to food labels and opt for low-sodium options. Most importantly, eat whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Regular exercise and drinking plenty of water also help to flush excess salt out of the system.