The Sodium Challenge

The Challenge:

Limit your sodium to 2 grams a day for 14 days

Why?

  1. Limiting sodium intake is the fastest way to drop water weight, look leaner, and more vascular!
  2. Its healthier!

Details

Food these days is PACKED with salt, it makes it taste irresistible, preserves it, and makes it cheaper to manufacture. Most people think that cutting down on sodium means hiding the sodium shaker but that wont help because the every convenience food you buy is packed with it.

What sodium does is make you thirsty and makes your body retain water. The more sodium you eat, the more water you retain. When you feel bloated the day after the superbowl, its not all the calories you ate but the megadoses of sodium in the pizza and chips you ate that causes you to feel like the Michelin man. Sodium sensitivity varies but some people can gain 10 pounds of water with such sodium binges.  Imagine what a bucket full of water looks like on your belly! Retained water makes you look puffy and fat. Its not just a cosmetic problem either, it can be very dangerous for some with hypertension and other diseases.

How much is 2 grams of sodium?

First, salt is sodium chloride.  One gram of salt is about 0.4 grams of sodium.  The chloride part doesn't do any harm, its the sodium part that causes the problems.  Lets look at how incredibly easy it is to blow your sodium budget:

  • 1.7 grams sodium in just 2 slices of pizza
  • 1.4 grams of sodium in a Burger King cheeseburger & fries
  • 1.7 grams of sodium in just 3 ounces of pretzels
  • 1.3 grams of sodium in just 3 ounces of cheese
  • 2.1 grams of sodium in just 3 ounces of bacon
  • 1.2 grams of sodium in just 3 ounces of salami

A tiny amount of the wrong snack can blow your entire sodium budget for the day. You have to become a label reader. Smartphone applications like LoseIt are great for helping you monitor your sodium intake.

Will I really look better?

If you lower your sodium intake you *will* lose water weight, but it can take 3-7 days.  Remember, this is not fat loss, its just water loss,  If you are overweight, you will probably notice that your pants fit looser.  The most dramatic visible difference will occur in those who are already have fourpack abs or sixpack abs.  For these lean people, a slight reduction in water can make a huge visual difference. It can make you noticibly leaner and show vascularity where none was before.   If you are a model, you really have to watch your sodium the week before a photo shoot.

How to reduce sodium

Cutting sodium intake down to this level is tough, you basically have to cut processed foods out of your diet. To make food taste good without sodium I have two words: vinegar and spice. Go to costco or big box discount store and get a big bottle of balsamic vinegar and a big bottle of no-sodium seasoning.  Your biggest enemies are cured meats, cheese, prepackaged snack foods, and fast foods - avoid these like the plague!

Salt Fatigue

When you limit your sodium for 2-4 weeks, a funny thing happens - everything tastes saltier!  When you eat a lot of salt, your taste buds get bludgeoned and are not as sensitive to the flavor.  Back off on the salt, and the taste buds become more sensitive again!

Warning!

People doing fighting sports where there are weight classes like wrestling and boxing do all kinds of crazy things to lower their weight and make the lightest class they can.  Most of these crazy things are dangerous and unhealthy.   Reducing sodium to 2g a day is healthy thing to do but there are some precautions you need to take if you are an extreme athlete:

  1. Drink LOTS of water.  Limiting water consumption while on a low sodium diet is stupid and dangerous.  Stupid because being dehydrated can make you 19% weaker.  Can you imagine walking into the gym with a 19% handicap?
  2. When on a low sodium diet, life threatening dehydration can quickly occur during very hot weather or under high exertion if you do not hydrate properly.  Don't wait till you are thirsty to drink, that is too late!

I am not a medical professional.  It is your responsibility to evaluate this information with the help of your physician and decide if it is appropriate for you!

Nutrition Impossible?

No, we can do it!!!!

the sodium challenge