Its a narrative as age-old as day and were not referring to the Disney magic of Beauty and the Beast. Were talking about salt and the long-standing notion that you should slash your sodium intake to keep your blood pressure in check and reduce water weight, a.k.a. bloat.
But in his new volume, The Salt Fix, James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D ., claims that cutting back on salt can actually prevent you from losing weight. DiNicolantonio suggests that when your torso is depleted of salt, it amps up your brain’s reward system( the thing that stimulates “youre feeling” ahhhhmazing after smoothing off a doughnut or pouch of chips ). And when this area of your brain is move HAM, you’re more likely to crave and feed a dessert or treat that you usually wouldn’t. That can be an issue if you’re trying to shed pounds.
The theory is based on a 2004 investigate of mice published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. For that survey, the researchers found that when mouse were low in sodiuma key mineral for many bodily functionstheir brains appear to sensitize their reward system or create a hyperactive reward system.
So should we all give low-sodium diets the boot?
Well, like other animal-only investigates, this one should be taken with a grain of salt, tells Keri Gans, R.D.N ., C.D.N ., author of The Small Diet Change. While it’s true-life that depriving yourself of any part( even salt) can cause increased cravings, those advocates to feed junk are likely spurred by feeling restrictednot inevitably a change in brain chemistry, she says.
But does following a low-salt diet actually work against your weight loss aims? It depends, says Gans.
First off, you shouldnt cut out only a single part or nutrient in an attempt to plummet pounds, Gans tells. Focusing on merely removing salt from your diet isnt going to be the golden ticket to losing weight because in doing so, youre ignoring other nutritional factors that are essential for weight loss. Instead of picking items based on their sodium content, you should consider how much fiber and protein( key nutrients to remaining fuller longer) versus calories and saturated fats a product has, she says.
Similarly, when you make a low-salt routine your main focus, you might end up feeing products advertised as reduced sodium or sodium-free. These looks a lot like a good alternative, but they can be loaded with added sugars and calories, Gans says.
Eliminating any single ingredient from your diet, especially when it’s something you love, is just going to backfire, mentions Gans. So, if youre total salt junkie( a.k.a. one of those people whod selected a pouch of microchips over a cupcake any day of the week) banning sodium from your diet will likely lead you to make unhealthy options and sabotage your goals.
There’s also the fact that you need a certain amount of sodium to function and preserve hydration and electrolyte balance. So when you cut lane back on salt, you could deprive your body of what it needs, tells Lisa DeFazio, R.D. Instead of eliminating salt as a weight loss or debloating tactic, DeFazio recommends capping your intake at 400 to 500 mg per meal.
DeFazio and Gans recommend picking snacks such as air-popped or microwaveable popcorn because you can add a little bit of salt for savour( and fill that salt fix ). Plus, popcorn is low in cals and high in fiber, which are the actual key to weight loss. Other good low-salt snack options for weight loss: kosher dill pickles, roasted edamame, roasted chickpeas, and lightly-salted nuts.
Bottom line: Cutting back on salt is still a great way to reduce sea weight, but moving below 400 to 500 mg a banquet might leave you with cravings.
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