Daily Sodium Intake For Weight Loss


The daily sodium intake for weight loss is typically 1,200 to 1,500 mg of sodium. A healthy daily sodium intake keeps your immune system healthy. In order to reach the optimal level of daily nutrition, one can opt for soups, fish, bread and soy products. In case you are suffering from hypertension, you need to avoid salty foods and drinks, which can increase the sodium levels in your body.

Sodium and Weight

Sodium does not cause permanent weight gain, but eating too much can cause water retention. An extra 400 milligrams of sodium in your body results in a 2-pound weight increase. Your body works to maintain a sodium/water balance that resembles sea water, so an influx of sodium causes you to retain water to balance out the excess. This weight is transient, and drinking water will flush out both the sodium and extra fluid, according to Dr. Jack D. Osman of Towson University.

High Sodium Risks

Weight gain aside, a high-sodium diet poses serious health risks for some individuals. Sodium is linked to blood pressure and volume, and too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, or hypertension. Therefore, about 60 percent of the population should get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day to prevent cardiovascular disease. This includes diabetics, patients with kidney disease, African Americans and all adults over the age of 51.

How Much Sodium Is Too Much?

Sodium is a mineral found in table salt and is necessary for many bodily functions. Our main source of sodium in the food we eat. However, many people are getting more sodium than they need due to the large amounts found in a variety of today’s foods.

The American Heart Association recommends we eat only 1500 milligrams of sodium per day. The DGA, or Daily Guidelines for Americans, is listed at 2300 milligrams per day. The CDC reports that the average American eats 3400 milligrams per day! How is this possible?

Just look at the popular foods Americans like to eat: snacks, chips, fast food, fried foods, processed foods, and restaurant meals. These are all foods high in salt. In addition, many of these foods are also high in fat and calories. Salty foods can also make you thirsty, which can increase your intake of high-calorie beverages like soda or beer.

Some studies are now focusing on the roles of fat, high salt weight gain, and the typical American diet.

How Much Sodium Should You Have per Day?

Sodium is a necessary mineral. But health organizations typically recommend that healthy adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg (about one teaspoon of salt) per day to prevent conditions like high blood pressure.

Sodium — often simply referred to as salt — is found in nearly everything you eat and drink.

It occurs naturally in many foods, is added to others during the manufacturing process and is used as a flavoring agent at home and restaurants.

For some time, sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, which causes damage to your blood vessels and arteries when chronically elevated. In turn, this increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.

Therefore, several health authorities have established guidelines for limiting sodium intake.

However, these guidelines have been controversial, as not everyone may benefit from a reduced-sodium diet.

Salt And Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, there are around 2 billion overweight adults worldwide. Of those, 650 million are classified as obese. That equates to 39 percent of adults aged 18 or over who are overweight.

As of 2020, the U.S. adult obesity rate stood at 42.4 percent, the first time the national rate has passed the  40 percent mark, and further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26 percent since 2008. Rates of childhood obesity are also increasing with the latest data showing that 19.3 percent of U.S. young people, ages 2 to 19, have obesity. 

Recent studies[3] have shown that high salt intake is associated with an increased risk of obesity because many people drink sugar-sweetened beverages to offset the effects of too much salt. This type of body fat accumulates around your middle. When you reduce your salt intake, you lose water but not body fat.

Obesity studies have been done with both adults and children. Results support the relationship between obesity, salt intake, and high-calorie beverages. It is unclear however whether salt intake itself causes obesity or whether a low salt diet can reduce body fat.

Another study from researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston however could not prove that salt intake was directly responsible for weight gain. Their results only supported the traditional view that decreasing sodium intake is critical to managing hypertension. Clearly more studies need to be done in this area. 

Your Gut Microbiome And Sodium

In addition to influencing blood pressure, sodium may be involved with the gut microbiome and its influence on fat metabolism. Since healthy body weight is a reflection of healthy gut flora, researchers are now beginning to look at the interactions between the gut microbiome, salt intake, and weight.

The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of beneficial bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that normally inhabit our gastrointestinal tract. These organisms are crucial to our digestive system and to the overall health of our body.

A new study by a research group at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany shows that high-sodium diets may kill off the beneficial bacteria in our gut possibly setting us up for weight gain. They found that a version of the good bacteria Lactobacillus found in mice is destroyed when they are fed a diet high in salt. 

Another study done on mice using a high salt diet in 2019 included the rapid depletion of 90% of Lactobacillus spp. following 14 days of high sodium (5,500 mg/day)diet, indicating a low resilience of the Lactobacillus spp. to sodium.

Conversely, both animal and clinical studies from Harbin, China have shown that some lactobacilli possess an anti-obesity effect by significantly reducing body weight gain through reduced liver lipid accumulation and improved lipid metabolism of adipose tissue. By using mixed lactobacilli supplementation, the researchers could manipulate the gut microbiota and its metabolites resulting in a reduction in obesity.

Reducing Sodium

To reduce sodium in your diet, cook at home instead of eating out and check all food labels. Sodium comes in many forms including monosodium glutamate, or MSG, disodium phosphate, baking soda, baking powder and sodium chloride, which is table salt. At the grocery store, choose items labelled low-sodium, which contain 140 milligrams of sodium or less, as well as light-sodium products which contain no more than half the sodium of the normal versions. Most fresh fruits have no sodium at all; neither do unsalted pastas and rice.

Official Dietary Recommendations

For decades, health authorities have urged people to limit their sodium intake to control blood pressure.

It’s estimated that your body only needs 186 mg of sodium per day to function properly.

However, it would almost be impossible to consume this little, still meet your energy needs and get the recommended intake of other important nutrients.

Therefore, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that healthy adults consume 1,500 mg (1.5 grams) of sodium per day

At the same time, the IOM, USDA and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that healthy adults limit their daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg (2.3 grams) — the equivalence of one teaspoon of salt

This limit was established based on evidence from clinical studies that sodium intakes above 2,300 mg (2.3 grams) per day can adversely affect blood pressure and increase heart disease risk.

Due to the increased sodium loss through sweat, these guidelines don’t apply to highly active people like competitive athletes or workers who are exposed to heat.

Other organizations make different recommendations.

The WHO suggests consuming 2,000 mg (2 grams) of sodium per day, and the American Heart Association advises a much lower intake of 1,500 mg (1.5 grams) per day

Today, Americans consume much more sodium than health authorities recommend — averaging about 3,400 mg (3.4 grams) daily

However, these recommendations have been controversial, as people with normal blood pressure levels may not benefit from restricting their sodium intake

In fact, evidence to suggest that consuming less salt decreases heart disease risk in healthy people is limited. It may even be harmful


Health authorities recommend between 1,500 mg (1.5 grams) and 2,300 mg (2.3 grams) of sodium per day for heart health — much less than Americans consume on average.

Does Your Salt Intake Affect Weight Loss?

High Sodium Risks

You should not consume high amounts of sodium since it can lead to health conditions such as high blood pressure. According to the U.S dietary guidelines, one should consume at most 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

Other risks that are associated with consuming high amounts of sodium include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Damaged blood vessels

Tips for Reducing Sodium

Lowering sodium intake can be a challenge, especially if you’re used to eating more than the daily recommended serving. But it’s possible with the following measures:

  • Eat whole foods prepared at home since processed foods usually contain high amounts of sodium.
  • Avoid consuming condiments that contain high amounts of sodium, such as soy sauce, salad dressing, and ketchup.
  • Use dry herbs such as black pepper to season your food.
  • Rinse canned foods before consuming them.
  • Read the labels on canned foods to know the amount of sodium contained in these foods.

Low-Sodium Foods to Enjoy

  • Beans and other grains
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Frozen or fresh fish
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes
  • Frozen or fresh meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Low-sodium snacks
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Low-sodium homemade soups
  • Baked goods such as bread and unsalted crackers

High-Sodium Foods to Avoid

  • Processed meat
  • Fast foods such as burgers
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Salty snacks and canned foods
  • Cheese
  • Baking mixes
  • Salty canned soups
  • Salted baked foods such as croutons and salted rolls

Benefits of a Low-Sodium Diet

  • Lowers blood pressure – Without as much fluid in your blood, your blood pressure will start to fall to normal levels.
  • Decreases the risk of cancer – Stomach cancer can be attributed to the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, which thrives off of salt.
  • Can indirectly help improve the quality of foods you eat – Many high-salt content foods are also poor in nutritional value, so cutting down on salt also often means cutting down on junk food.
  • Reduces the risk of kidney damage – Kidney failure can come from weakened blood vessels that have been damaged by excessive salt consumption.
  • Decreases bloating and swelling – Salt makes you retain fluid, so you’ll notice a big difference in swelling once you cut back.

Other Ways to Control Your Blood Pressure and Improve Health

Your diet should be the first focus when lowering sodium intake, but there are other ways to control your blood pressure and improve your overall well-being. On top of consuming less salt, you can also:

  • Become more physically active
  • Consume fewer calories
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Limit your alcohol intake

Salt. It can be a blessing, or a curse for your weight loss. Start by being mindful of how much salt you’re digesting daily, ease off slowly and develop some creative solutions for your eating habits. As a result, you’ll also develop a slimmer body, and toned core!

The Bottom Line

Sodium is an essential nutrient that your body needs for many important functions.

Health authorities recommend between 1.5 and 2.3 grams of sodium per day. Yet, increasing evidence suggests that these guidelines may be too low.

People with high blood pressure should not exceed 7 grams per day, but if you’re healthy, the amount of salt you’re currently consuming is likely safe.

If you’re worried about your blood pressure, there are several other, more effective things you can do, such as exercising, optimizing your diet or losing weight.

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