For a long time we have been warned about taking in too much salt. We absolutely need salt for our bodies to function properly – too little salt can lead to ill health as well. The body goes to great extremes to maintain constant levels circulating in our blood. So what is going on? One aspect to consider is that salt is also a major preservative used in the food industry because it is very effective at limiting the growth of bacteria. I believe a lot of problems can arise because we can often consume high quantities of salt without realising it – until later when you feel very inexplicably thirsty! To give you an example of salt awareness and the potential impacts that it can have on your body, I have related a short description of an experience I had during a recent weight loss program.
I had been on a weight loss program for 5 weeks which I had described in an earlier blog. I had lost around a Kg per week which then settled and stabilised as I settled into a more sustainable level of eating and exercise with which I was happy.
- Although the body weight had pretty much stabilised whilst maintaining the exercise and taking the OptimAAte and ElectrAAte, I believe I am still losing fat because my waist has continued to shrink and I have reduced a notch in my belt. This is an important observation because it is possible that using the amino acid supplements during a weight loss program can help maintain the muscle mass whilst burning off the fat. See the testimonial from Cam (F45 Gym owner).
Back to the salt story: I have noticed after certain meals that I can increase my weight overnight by 1-1.5Kg!!! I certainly did not each that much food! This happened notably after eating a Thai take-away meal which I was sure was saturated in mono-sodium glutamate and I thought this might relate to maintaining fluid with the meal.
A similar phenomenon happened a week later, – we ate well all day, went on a long walk with various cardio-challenging hills and was active in the afternoon. I made a pizza for dinner with a very low-calorie thin base, ham, shallots and capsicum, with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- I have to confess to eating an extra serve of ham during the preparation because it was absolutely delicious!
- The next morning I was up in weight by 1 Kg and I noticed that my urine was very concentrated and small in volume.
I think there is a story here in regard to the influence of flavourings, stabilizers, acidity regulators and preservatives in regards to weight management. I checked the contents on the box of ham and found that each serving of ham contained 535mg of sodium. To give you some context, the recommended daily allowance for adults is 900 – 2,300mg.
- So by the time I ate my extra serves plus the servings on the pizza plus the contributions from the parmesan cheese, I would have received my recommended daily intake of sodium in one hit!
- The interesting little extra to all of this is that the sodium intake was not balanced by taking in chloride (table salt is NaCl – the body needs both the sodium and the chloride to maintain fluid balance and body function) – I am not sure what this means but I can imagine this as a shock to electrolyte/fluid balance in the body.
- The types of sodium in the ham were as follows (the numbers are the preservative numbers):
- Acidity regulators
- 325 sodium lactate
- 262 sodium acetate
- 451 Penta-sodium-triphosphate
- 450 Sodium and potassium polyphosphates
- 250 Sodium nitrate
- Acidity regulators
Balancing and limiting the intake of these food groups may help avoid sudden increases in body weight and help better manage salt intake. You can see a helpful list of salt contents in different types of foods here.
Here are some foods high in sodium:
• Cocoa drinks; Butter; Margarine; Prawns; Olives; Bacon; Ham; Salami; Cheeses (cheddar is the lowest); Soy sauce
On a weight loss program, you may well be eating low calories and losing fat but this may not show up overall as weight loss because the body can retain fluid in response to what you eat and how hot the weather is. It would appear that food additives can play havoc with fluid balance.
One serve of OptimAAte® contains only 22kJ or 5.3 Calories
One serve of ElectrAAte® contains only 26kJ or 6.3 Calories