Is there a difference in suggested salt intake during weight loss and weight maintenance?

During weight loss, especially with low carbohydrate eating plans, sodium/salt levels decrease. As a result, blood pressure can drop, especially when a person stands suddenly from a seated or horizontal position, causing weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. This is called orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure resulting from a change in position).

To prevent this, we encourage participants to add regular table salt to their food during Weight Loss. The resulting restoration of normal blood volume sometimes results in a temporary “water weight” increase, but any such gain is soon reversed as weight loss proceeds.

It’s prudent to monitor your blood pressure during the program, especially if you experience any of the symptoms described.

Low sodium levels can also cause symptoms that are similar to potassium deficiency: dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness and/or muscle cramps. If you experience these symptoms, particularly if you are already taking potassium, we encourage you to add extra table salt to your daily diet or drink a cup of prepared bullion twice a day. Table salt has the added benefit of containing potassium. Some protein soups are intentionally salty and offer the convenience of providing a protein serving.

During weight maintenance, too much salt is more likely to be a problem. Aside from watching food labels for sodium content, try these simple tips for controlling your sodium intake:

– Dietitians teach that if a food has twice as much sodium as it does calories, then it’s probably too much sodium.

– Don’t trust your taste buds. Many foods with a high sodium content do not, in fact, taste salty.

– “Unlearn” your taste buds for sodium. Focus on enjoying the other flavors in foods.

– Take a break from the salt shaker. Just one-fourth teaspoon of salt contains a whopping 600 milligrams of sodium.

– Rinse off canned vegetables before eating them. You can cut sodium intake by 40 percent.

– Limit other condiments that are high in sodium, like soy sauce, mustard, ketchup, and tartar sauce.

– Some over-the-counter medications contain sodium, such as laxatives, headache pills, and alkalizers. Your doctor can better inform you, especially if you have salt-related high blood pressure.