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grams of salt


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How many grams of salt should we have each day?  I'm 185lbs  5'6'.

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Regardless of size, age or gender it's 6g salt or 2400mg sodium maximum per day.

The real question is: why don't they take size, age, or gender into account?  Though we talk about sodium as if it should be avoided as much as possible, it's a vital nutrient that we can't live without.  Yes, most of us get far more than we need in out diets, but we all have different sodium requirements and limits.  To simply have a blanket limit for everyone seems bizarre to me. 

For example, my friend's father was limiting his sodium.  He is a very active person whose job requires him to do a lot of physical labor.  One day, he fainted.  His doctor informed him he was far too active for a low sodium diet, and had to eat more salt.  When we sweat, we sweat out salt as well as water.  I'm willing to bet that someone who runs a marathon, for example, needs more than 2400 mg of sodium the day of the marathon, just to keep their electrolytes in balance.

Thanks for the info!  Smile

Original Post by dolphinclick:

The real question is: why don't they take size, age, or gender into account?  Though we talk about sodium as if it should be avoided as much as possible, it's a vital nutrient that we can't live without.  Yes, most of us get far more than we need in out diets, but we all have different sodium requirements and limits.  To simply have a blanket limit for everyone seems bizarre to me. 

It is a vital ingredient and the minimum intake is around 1500mg sodium per day... also regardless of size, age etc.  It's very possible to get that from the trace elements of salt present in natural foods.   People in extreme conditions (soldiers in a desert, marathon runners etc.) probably do need more but they are in the minority rather than the majority.  And yes, since the average person gets over 4000mg sodium in their diet mostly from processed foods, any reduction is helpful. 

Regarding sweat, that's quite interesting .... people who eat a lot of salt sweat out a lot of salt.  People who don't eat much salt, don't sweat it out. Again, leaving extreme situations aside, it's a self-regulating thing.  I think size and gender gets left out of the equation because, internally, we're all fairly similar.  Same amount of pints of blood swishing about, for example...  

We don't all have the same amount of blood though.  Bigger people have more blood than smaller people.  Someone who is 6'6" has more blood than I do at 5'1".  They need more blood to oxygenate all the extra cells that they have.

I just want to say I love discussions like these.  I love the stuff here that makes me think about what I'm doing.  :)

Maybe blood wasn't the best example. Smile  However, I think the way the body deals with salt i.e. through the kidneys, doesn't vary much on the size or gender of the owner of those kidneys

There are some medical reasons that might require you to restrict salt, such as high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.  Other than medical reasons, there is no reason a healthy person has to restrict salt below 2400 mgs.

A lot of dieters are aware of water retention, which can be caused by excess salt in the diet, but that's not true weight gain and is easily corrected by reducing the sodium to the healthy level and drinking water.

 

Original Post by clairelaine:

There are some medical reasons that might require you to restrict salt, such as high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.  Other than medical reasons, there is no reason a healthy person has to restrict salt below 2400 mgs.

A lot of dieters are aware of water retention, which can be caused by excess salt in the diet, but that's not true weight gain and is easily corrected by reducing the sodium to the healthy level and drinking water.

 

 How about 'prevention is better than cure'?

The above is a bit like saying that unless you have hypertension, heart disease and other medical problems there's no good reason to quit smoking, lose weight or start taking regular exercise.  Short-term all of these activities .... smoking, being fat or being inactive.... are pretty harmless.  But take them up for long enough and they become an issue.  And usually, by that stage, it's too late to change tack.

Get used to eating less salt when you're younger and it's a smart move.

Personally, I find that most people are at such extremes with sodium intake. Those who eat a lot of processed food eat insanely large amounts, people who eat mostly fresh foods are limited more to what they add.

In the absence of processed foods, I decided over the summer that I had perhaps limited by sodium too much. I just felt like crap in the sun, became dehydrated quickly, etc. Some water retention is a good thing in 100+ degree weather : )
Now, I still wasn't going over 2400mg per day. But it did make me think about this "less is always the answer" mentality that many have with so many types of foods (sodium, carbs, fat, etc.)

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