water retention, sodium...

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Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 10

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 09:36
hi. I've been on a low-carb diet for 14 days. so this diet is pretty nice, but it happens so that i have to eat food with salt. Before i never used salt anywhere, and i never bought processed foods, so i was avoiding salt. but now for some while i consume some salt, but i don't consume a large amount, i still watch the level intake. and now i have a problem. if i eat even inconsiderable amounts of sodium i begin to retain water, and it appears on my legs, arms. and i hate it so. I just realized that if i don't consume salt at all i have a less water retention. I don't know what to do. my organism reacts even to a very small amount of sodium. and no matter if i drink more, it is all the same.

Joined: Oct 11
Posts: 675

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 12:21
Your body needs salt. Unless you were advised by a doctor to completely avoid salt due to some serious medical condition, you might do more harm than good by avoiding it completely. The amount of salt added to processed food is a different story, and you should avoid processed food on any diet. Protein is a natural diuretic and some people get dehydrated on low carb diets, so the advise to eat some salt on Atkins is ment to counter balance dehydration, not cause water retention. Eat more vegetables with potassium that should counteract sodium and help you get rid of excess water.
The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor. ~ Author Unknown
It doesn’t matter what diet you follow… What matters is what makes you follow your diet. ~ Tom Venuto

Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 10

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 14:03
so if i consume consume potassium and magnesium in pills is it ok. i understand so that i should watch the balance between sodium and potassium& and so how much potassium , for example ,i should i attach to one gram of sodium?

Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 10

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 14:08
and one more question/ can it be so that my body is just still adapting to the diet what causes this bloating, or can this be connected with that that i loose fat and body tries to retain liquid instead?

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 899

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 15:18
Hi lingorus Smile

You don't have to eat processed foods in order to get Sodium. Sodium is in almost all foods, fresh, frozen, doesn't matter, it's in there. I don't eat any processed foods, and I still have to keep a close eye on my Sodium intake. I stopped using regular table salt about 2 months ago, instead I use a salt substitute made of potassium, and it serves it's purpose. I've actually noticed that I'm not even using it on my food as much as I was using salt. Switching to a salt substitute should solve any issues you're having due to low potassium. The recommended daily potassium intake is 4.7 grams a day.

When you say that it doesn't matter how much water you drink, the swelling doesn't go down, exactly how much water are you drinking on a daily basis? Ideally, you should drink at least half of your weight in ounces of water daily. Consistently doing that should relieve the water retention. If it doesn't, I would check with your doctor.

Here's some info that I put together from different sources (listed at the bottom) about Sodium. Maybe it will answer some of your questions.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Mayo Clinic both recommend that your daily sodium intake be restricted to 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggests that healthy American adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, and only 1,500 mg if you are:

- Over 51 years of age
- African American
- High risk for developing heart disease
- Suffer from hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease

The AHA and the National Institutes of Health also agree with this suggestion.

Not getting enough sodium?

The body requires sodium to keep body fluids balanced, transmit nerve impulses and influence muscle contraction and relaxation. When eating low-carb, the amount of carbohydrate in our diet changes our need for salt. The body’s metabolism of salt is uniquely different when one is adapted to a low carbohydrate diet. Salt and water are more efficiently excreted, which is a good thing as long as you maintain an adequate minimum sodium intake. And although 1500-2300 mg sounds like a lot of salt, most Americans consume 3,436 mg of sodium daily, according to the AHA.

A large decrease in sodium can cause:

Leg Cramps
Malaise (bodily discomfort)

All of these things are associated with what is known as the Atkins Flu. This happens to many people who are just beginning the Induction Phase of Atkins. The reason being, consuming lots of carbs makes you retain water, but shifting over to fat burning has a diuretic effect, meaning you excrete electrolytes and salt along with fluid. Fluid loss can be too much of a good thing for some. Fortunately, all of the above low-sodium issues are pretty easy to avoid.

To manage this problem, simply drink plenty of water and have either a couple of cups of broth (not the low-sodium kind), ½ teaspoon of salt or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce each day. Have one cup of broth mid-morning, one mid-afternoon; measure out the salt and sprinkle it on food throughout the day; or season foods with the soy sauce. Follow this regimen from Day 1, and you should be spared any problematic symptoms. And no, this doesn’t make Atkins a high-salt diet.

*Tip: If you take diuretic medication for hypertension or other health issues, don't follow the above regimen until your doctor has told you that you no longer need to take your diuretic medication. Instead, consume the recommended amounts of water, increase your intake of leafy greens and/or add some nuts or even half a cup of tomato juice until you feel better.

What are the dangers of too much sodium?

Sodium, or salt, makes your body retain water, which can add pounds to the scale. Every pound of carbs stored in your body hold 2 or 3 pounds of water and it is this water that holds the excess salt. Following a low-salt or low-carb diet may help you lose weight and keep it off, while also helping to reduce the risk of hypertension, and the other medical issues listed below. Health professionals recommend that you eat less salt and unhealthy carbs to maintain or improve your health.

Too much sodium in your diet can cause:

Hypertension (or High Blood Pressure)
Heart attack
Heart Disease
Kidney Disease
Congestive Heart Failure
Stomach and Intestine Problems

Ways to limit your sodium intake:

- Choose a salt substitute, like No Salt, Nu-Salt, Also Salt, Lo-Salt, Morton's Salt Substitute, Salt Sense or Magic Salt. Or, if you don't want to completely cut out the salt, you might try just cutting down by using Sea Salt.

*Note: Salt substitutes are not a healthful option for everyone. Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride. Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful for some people. For example, many persons with kidney problems are unable to rid their bodies of excessive potassium, which could result in a deadly situation. If you have kidney problems, heart problems, diabetes, or are on any of the medications listed below for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium.

Captopril (and other angiotensiin-converting enzyme inhibitors)

- Season your food with non-sodium herbs and spices such as:

Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
Lemon or Lime Juice
Flavored Vinegar
Salt-Free Herb Blends (like Mrs. Dash)
Fresh Ground Peper
Chili Powder
Red Pepper

- You can also find low-sodium versions of ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, salad dressing, and hot sauce at certain supermarkets.

- Buy fresh or unseasoned poultry, fish, meats, and frozen veggies or choose canned/packaged/processed versions that have no salt added.

- Cut back on salt in recipes.

- Marinate meats and veggies to tenderize them and boost their flavor.

- You could also choose to not use any salt. Tasting salt on our foods is a learned habit, therefore, it can also be unlearned Smile

Here are some great recipes for homemade salt substitutes:


If you are trying to limit your sodium intake, you should be familiar with foods that are low in sodium.

Here is a list of foods that are low in carbs and sodium:

Yellow Summer Squash
Bok Choy
Green Beans
Brussel Sprouts
Canned, crushed Tomatoes
Sweet Green Peppers
Swiss Cheese
Colby Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Whipping Cream

Or a 3 oz. serving of the following:

Beef, round - bottom, tip or eye of round
Wild Rainbow Trout
Yellowfin or Bluefin Tuna
Wild Atlantic Salmon
Chicken, white meat only
Pork Loin

Ways to deal with water retention/bloating:

If you don't drink a lot of water daily, and you know you have greatly exceeded your sodium limit for the day (or several days), here are some ways that will help you to flush out the excess sodium:

- Drink More Water - According to the University of Maine, you excrete 90 to 95 percent of the sodium in your body through your kidneys by urination. If you increase your water intake, you'll also increase your urine output--and the amount of excess sodium you flush out of your body. CBS MoneyWatch suggests drinking up to one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily, about twice the normal recommended daily intake. This will help flush excess sodium of your body in a very short time. You should only do this for 3 or 4 days at most. Dina Aronson, MS, RD writes that although maximizing water consumption is a healthy lifestyle choice, it's not a sufficient strategy by itself for reducing sodium over time. However, it can help normalize sodium levels after an unexpectedly high-sodium meal.

- Eat Spicy Foods - You also lose a small amount of sodium when you perspire, according to the University of Maine. Spicy foods will make you want to drink more water, which not only keeps you well hydrated in hot weather but also boosts urine production and thus sodium excretion. A Penn State bulletin recommends spicy foods for boosting your metabolism. It states that very hot foods can increase the metabolic rate by 20 percent for about a half hour after consumption. This will be of interest if you're trying to keep your weight down, but it's also relevant in terms of speeding up all your bodily cycles, including fluid and sodium excretion.

*Note: None of these strategies will be enough in the long term if you continue eating foods high in sodium. According to Harvard Health Publications, water follows sodium; too much sodium in your body means less water in your urine to carry sodium away. CBS MoneyWatch adds that excess sodium winds up under your skin, where it attracts water. Lowering your sodium intake reduces water retention. As that water leaves your body, it takes excess sodium with it. And of course a low sodium diet means your body has less excess sodium in needs to flush out in the first place.

"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." - Scott Reed

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,223

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 17:11
Whatever you do DO NOT take a potassium or magnesium supplement unless advised by a physician. Too much of either can be deadly - especially potassium. If you are not deficient, you should not take.
Lana J

Joined: May 09
Posts: 13

Posted: 08 Dec 2012, 21:13
Wow!! So much informational data. Thank you.

Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 10

Posted: 09 Dec 2012, 00:34
thank you a lot

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 899

Posted: 09 Dec 2012, 01:33
You're welcome Smile
"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." - Scott Reed

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 3

Posted: 05 Jan 2014, 10:18
I was shocked at the amount of sodium in oatmeal (not instant oatmeal but slow-cooked and sliced turkey (deli). Absolutely. huge. I have had recent problems with Edema but associated it with the medication that I was taking for peripheral neuropathy. I think now that it has to do with food choices that I thought were healthy. Clearly, cured meats have to go

Joined: Dec 13
Posts: 5

Posted: 05 Jan 2014, 13:14
I've heard that processed meats are pretty high in sodium and not the healthiest choice Sad. I was surprised about sodium in oatmeal. I haven't even noticed that, so I'll be paying better attention. Thanks for your post! I wonder if steel cut oats are any better? I often eat mixed wild rice for breakfast, but again, I haven't paid attention to the sodium content. I know they're probably pretty high in carbs though. Good luck!

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 959

Posted: 05 Jan 2014, 13:45
Sodium. More is better.



Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 3

Posted: 05 Jan 2014, 16:42
don't think so. On the oatmeal had to do with making it with salt - fatsecret assumes that you use salt to boil the water. Anyway, more salt is not better. The right amount is what you want to target.

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 2,920

Posted: 05 Jan 2014, 18:17
Stop eating that packaged broth! way too many mgs of sodium in 1 package?? outrageous... Make your own broth and flavour it with the tops of carrots, and other veggies, use leftover chicken bones. Broth is great to help thru the hunger and give some nutrients but not the packaged crap or the cubes.

Steel cut oats are the highest in nutritional value and have 0 sodium...
If it is a plant, eat it, if it comes from a plant, don't!

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 156

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 05:41
I use Lo-Salt on my food, it has potassium it in. I just use a little. As a matter if interest, the potassium can help with leg cramps Smile

I hasten to add that I rarely eat processed foods.
Lynne ~ Smile


Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 3,767

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 08:15
To go back and address your first post. Why do you say you have to eat foods high in sodium on Atkins? granted if you add cheeses you will add some sodium.
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters


Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 3,767

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 08:27
Mummydee I'm normally really good at reading labels. On the veggie and chicken stock I've been using carefully checked the ingredients but not the sodium. 8oz is 1/4 the recommended daily amount! Will slowly use up what I have in small amounts per serving and make some stock this weekend and freeze it in 3 or 4 oz portions. Homemade convenience food. Thanks for reminding me.
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters


Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 2,920

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 09:04
Anytime I cut up or peel veggies, i put the 'refuse " in a baggie and freeze it. When I go to make a stock the peels, tops of veggies and outside whatevers have marvelous flavours and nutrition and much better use than thrown in the compost. Or one extra use before going in the compost.!
If it is a plant, eat it, if it comes from a plant, don't!

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 3,767

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 09:50
Used to do that. Then didn't have the freezer space. Bought a small upright freezer last summer -- I really need to get back into that habit. For this weekend I'll have to use some veggies in frig. Since I haven't cooked much this week I have some I should use. It won't take a lot of energy--don't have much yet. Definitely better than wasting. Then once they are cooked and strained off to the compost bin
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters


Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 994

Posted: 11 Jan 2014, 10:16
Never gave it a thought to keep the tops. Wonderful idea. Thank you.

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