What’s the deal with salt?
Most of us will have been told not to eat too much salt, but does this apply on a Low-Carb diet and to people who are active? As your body adapts to a low carb diet, the kidneys fundamentally change how they handle sodium. Reducing carbs causes your kidneys to secrete sodium aggressively along with water. In order to maintain your circulation in good order to handle heat stress form hot weather, endurance activity or any activity that increases your body temp you need to increase your salt intake.
When dropping your carbs to less than 60 grams per day you will need to increase your sodium intake to 2-3 grams per day, (unless you are on diuretic medication for blood pressure then seek medical advice first) when active 1 gram of sodium should be taken within the an hour before training. Failing to increase salt intake can have negative effects on how you feel, often referred to as low-carb flu, headaches, lack of energy or muscle cramps. In most cases this is due to the sodium reduction in the diet and is quickly addressed with increased intake. How much Sodium is in salt? Around 40% of salt is sodium, so you need to use roughly twice as much salt in grams to achieve your sodium intake goal. 1 tsp salt (6g) will give you around 2.5g sodium.
“Salt is what makes things taste bad when it isn’t in them.” – Unknown
So add salt to your meals and even into your water each day to keep your electrolyte balance in check, and your performance top class.
Excerpt from Authority Nutrition:
–Too Little Sodium Can Cause Downright Harm
The health authorities do have an excellent track record of getting things wrong. They’ve given us a lot of bad advice in the past, such as telling us to cut back on saturated fat and eat 50-60% of calories as carbohydrates. It looks like the advice on sodium is bad advice too. Not only is it probably useless for the majority of people, these guidelines may even cause downright harm.
Multiple studies show that salt restriction causes adverse effects on health:
Increased LDL and Triglycerides: In a massive review, low sodium diets were found to cause an increase in LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) by 4.6% and an increase in triglycerides by 5.9% .
Insulin resistance: In one study, just 7 days on a low sodium diet increased insulin resistance, a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome..
Type II Diabetes: A study found that in patients with type II diabetes, less sodium was associated with an increased risk of death..
Hyponatremia: In athletes, a low sodium intake can cause hyponatremia, a sodium deficiency which can be very dangerous.