0

votes

Can't get enough Salt on PALEO! How much do you consume?

Commented on January 30, 2014
Created January 26, 2014 at 4:19 PM

When I'm strict paleo, not eating prepared foods, I get very little salt.

Though I though I ruled out salt as being relevant for my tension headaches and muscle cramps, I'm revisiting the subject now.

I was surprised how hard it is to shake 1/4 tsp of salt onto food at a meal. Maybe it has something to do with the salt receptors on your tongue, but salting to taste (if not eating prepared foods) means I'm getting less than 1/4 tsp salt / day.

I appear to have some other food issues (like cheese/bacon causing migraines), so I don't eat that.

I guess I could add salt to water (I do drink a lot of water).

Also, perhaps I could try adding salt during cooking.

I guess I should get back into bone broth (salt goes well with that).

So, since going paleo, has your salt consumption fallen a lot and if so, how do you feel with lower sodium?

Thanks,

Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 30, 2014
at 03:56 AM

I'm very excited at the prospect that this might indeed be relevant to my muscle cramps/tension headaches (which are really just muscle cramps of the scalp & next). I don't want to jinx it, but my all over muscle discomfort & cramps, and stiff neck have really improved in the last 4 days!!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 29, 2014
at 02:00 AM

Sorry: when I posted this answer, I noticed I wasn't logged in, maybe that's why I couldn't comment (though it didn't indicate that as the error)

D8e5b254213bd512744f9ac939028c1f

(0)

on January 28, 2014
at 04:31 PM

I apologize for my lack of clarity. I meant you only need a few hundred "extra" grams of salt on food, beyond what is already present in a good diet. This was in response to the OP's statements that he was only getting 1 mg a day - which he later corrected to 1 gram a day.

My own target is also 1500 mg a day, which corresponds to what I have read is a good baseline for a middle-aged woman. USDA guidelines (again this is for my circumstances) would put the upper limit at 2300 mg. Athletes and people working out should definitely increase the use of their salt shaker on a Paleo regime.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on January 28, 2014
at 04:27 PM

tenths of a gram, like 0.3 grams. grrr.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on January 28, 2014
at 04:02 PM

While I'm with you on tracking one's diet for a time to get a real feel for nutrient intake, where do you get: "We...only need a few hundred milligrams of sodium a day"? That just sounds dangerous to me. My n=1 was that I was only getting about 900 milligrams of sodium at best and when I got myself up to the recommended 1500 milligrams (of sodium not salt), I had fewer skipped heartbeats, more energy, yadda yadda. I go with the 1500 milligram as a baseline, and to get that, since I eat a whole foods diet, I have to be mindful to add salt to my meals.

Medium avatar

on January 28, 2014
at 03:48 PM

@CaveMan_Mike Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 11:37 PM

very good post, thanks!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 11:36 PM

Typo, sorry, I just edited my answer. That should have been 1 gram (1000mg) of sodium.

1G is still very low. I have read some studies that show all-cause mortality to be much higher at such a low level.

Thanks for the replies,

Mike

Medium avatar

on January 27, 2014
at 10:53 PM

@daz Updated with full reference and there's a link in the first paragraph. hth

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 27, 2014
at 10:32 PM

hi paleocrush, could you post up the links/refs for the reports/studies you mention over on your blog pls (or did i just miss them, were they there?)

Medium avatar

on January 27, 2014
at 08:12 PM

@CaveMan_Mike

That's total salt a day. It may be 2 - 2.5 grams (per person). I never isolate foods/nutrients like some people do - like in that post "how do you take your coconut oil at work?". That was funny because why would you? I cook with enough coconut oil :)

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 07:37 PM

is that 2tsp in water, or 2tsp in food (total salt /day)? I'm about to read your post.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

13 Answers

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 29, 2014
at 12:55 PM

Mike, glad I am not alone. I did fine on Paleo for quite some time but then developed muscle cramps. When I started to add salt to my drinking water the cramping went away. I only add maybe 1/2 teaspoon of salt throughout the day. I also salt some of my food but that doesn't amount to much.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 30, 2014
at 03:56 AM

I'm very excited at the prospect that this might indeed be relevant to my muscle cramps/tension headaches (which are really just muscle cramps of the scalp & next). I don't want to jinx it, but my all over muscle discomfort & cramps, and stiff neck have really improved in the last 4 days!!

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on January 29, 2014
at 01:59 AM

@Matt 44 The site is broken for comments so I'll comment on your answer in this answer:

Wow! That's pretty heavy stuff !! Interestingly, I recently listened to a podcast on resistant starch: http://www.latestinpaleo.com/paleo-podcast/2014/1/14/latest-in-paleo-97-perfect-resistance.html Really interesting topic. I plan on learning more about that. I'm hoping inulin is ok as I'm not thrilled about nightshades.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 29, 2014
at 02:00 AM

Sorry: when I posted this answer, I noticed I wasn't logged in, maybe that's why I couldn't comment (though it didn't indicate that as the error)

0
D1ef888baa4ffcb96a0a5e6e1f769187

on January 28, 2014
at 08:07 PM

The other side of sodium intake is sodium salvage... I recently read this article on the role of short chain fatty acid (SCFA) in colon health:

http://gut.bmj.com/content/35/1_Suppl/S35.full.pdf

One thing the article says is that SCFA's in the colon are somewhat responsible for absorbing absorbing sodium. I think that could be related to the Paleo Diet because some people drastically reduce the amount of fermentable fiber - especially if they go very low carb. The source of SCFA's in the colon is the bacteria that work on the fermentable fiber and resistant starch.

So, eating less fiber and resistant starch might increase dietary sodium requirements whereas eating more fiber and resistant starch could decrease dietary sodium requirements.

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on January 28, 2014
at 01:48 PM

I wonder if chloride might be relevant. During my last blood work, my chloride was 101 on a scale of 101 to 111. I did some googling and it appears that deficiency of chloride could indeed cause muscle cramping. Of course you get it from sodium chloride, but also magnesium chloride, potassium chloride. I just started taking concentrace drops again (which has magnesium and chloride, plus lots of other minerals). So, when everyone talks about salt being relevant, I wonder if it's the sodium or the chloride? Mike

0
1252a54ab5438aee73f58402cee95372

(0)

on January 28, 2014
at 09:51 AM

I've recently started putting salt on my food. I never used to as I didn't like the taste, but the more strictly paleo my diet has become, the more I'm inclined to add salt to my food - I actually like it now, not always, but sometimes I'm really drawn to it. I assume that's because I'm not getting it in processed foods and my body is asking for more of it. I have no science or numbers to go with this, just the fact that the salt has always been on the table at mealtimes for other people and I've never used it - and now I do.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on January 27, 2014
at 11:31 PM

I am reading Weston Price's book, and on the Amazon chapter he says that you can go down to a few tens of a gram per day and still be in great health, but you have to do it gradually over 15 days (he was taking into account the tropical climate too). I wonder, because a few times a year, but specially in early summer, I get into situations at work where I absolutely need salt. And then the only solution is a trip to the vending machine for some potato chips. Today for example, my lunch was rice, 3 boiled eggs, and fruits. I sprinkled some salt on the eggs before leaving home, just in case, and even though it is cold.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on January 28, 2014
at 04:27 PM

tenths of a gram, like 0.3 grams. grrr.

0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on January 27, 2014
at 09:57 PM

Shouldn't be too hard to get to 2-2.5 grams per day, assuming you like the taste of salt. Even eating paleo I probably consume too much salt. :D (2.5g :: before paleo up to 6g+! when eating processed foods)

0
D8e5b254213bd512744f9ac939028c1f

on January 27, 2014
at 06:57 PM

Mike, while I am not an athlete at ALL, my husband/son were/are. Salt does help with muscle cramping and I am glad to hear you have added some if that is the issue you are trying to address. My guys added more potassium and magnesium when that was concern (i.e. bananas and sweet potatoes in particular). However, I am curious as to what you eat that translates to only 1 mg of sodium a day. An apple has 2 mg. Raw spinach has 24 mg. A beef steak has 304 mg. Are you sure you are looking at the right numbers?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 11:36 PM

Typo, sorry, I just edited my answer. That should have been 1 gram (1000mg) of sodium.

1G is still very low. I have read some studies that show all-cause mortality to be much higher at such a low level.

Thanks for the replies,

Mike

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on January 27, 2014
at 06:55 PM

Eat a real fermented pickle or some sauerkraut and that will boost your salt intake drastically. I found that pre-paleo I was eating very little salt to keep BP down. Now with Paleo I'm eating a lot more salt & potassium and my BP is perfect.

0
Medium avatar

on January 27, 2014
at 06:47 PM

We usually have about 2 tsp per day, plenty of H2O.

I covered new salt research in my post

http://www.paleocrush.com/i-love-salt/

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 07:37 PM

is that 2tsp in water, or 2tsp in food (total salt /day)? I'm about to read your post.

Medium avatar

on January 27, 2014
at 08:12 PM

@CaveMan_Mike

That's total salt a day. It may be 2 - 2.5 grams (per person). I never isolate foods/nutrients like some people do - like in that post "how do you take your coconut oil at work?". That was funny because why would you? I cook with enough coconut oil :)

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 27, 2014
at 11:37 PM

very good post, thanks!

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 27, 2014
at 10:32 PM

hi paleocrush, could you post up the links/refs for the reports/studies you mention over on your blog pls (or did i just miss them, were they there?)

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on January 27, 2014
at 06:42 PM

@laurieny (the comment feature wasn't working so I'm adding this as an answer. 1. Yes, I use http://cronometer.com/ . I just looked back to 2012 and generally, unless I'm adding supplementary salt intentionally, I was generally getting about 1g of sodium. . And 2. Yes, I don't cook with salt. However, starting yesterday, I'm adding salt to water, and adding more with meals. 3. Hopefully, increasing salt will help with the muscle cramping. (I have tried so many tweaks mineral wise during the last year. -Mike

0
D8e5b254213bd512744f9ac939028c1f

on January 27, 2014
at 06:10 PM

First, I wonder how you have determined you are getting very little salt. One of the great aspects for many people of a Paleo "diet" seems to be not "counting" anything. However, unless you are really knowledgeable on the topic of food nutrients, I think it is a better practice to track exactly what you are eating for a month or two using something like the My Fitness Pal app. You might be surprised to learn where your body is actually getting sodium from. For instance, a plain egg contains 80 milligrams of sodium naturally.

If you are carefully tracking exactly what you eat, and you see that your sodium intake really is abnormally low, then yes, simply adding that into your nightly meal while you are cooking anything will do it. Do you really cook with zero salt?!? Another suggestion, you might consider is changing the type of salt you are using. Normal salt (in the blue box- still sea salt technically as ALL salt ultimately comes from the sea) is heavily processed to remove all the minerals from it (to make it "shake" better) and THEN they add iodine back in - which is unfortunately one of the main sources of iodine for too many people. Natural sea salt retains as many as 80 minerals, so that is a nice benefit, albeit really down in the weeds nutritionally as there is just not enough intake of any salt to make much of a statistical difference. However, because the salt "clumps" are larger in sea salt or kosher salt, you get more of a taste zap, particularly when you add it right before you eat something hot that melts it. Note, even if the container says sea salt, if it is white, it has still been processed. Go for color in your sea salt!

Then, if your assumption is that you are getting too little sodium in your diet is based more on a "taste" perception, switching to that might make you feel better. We really only need a few hundred milligrams of sodium a day - getting it *down* to healthy levels is a vastly more common issue.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on January 28, 2014
at 04:02 PM

While I'm with you on tracking one's diet for a time to get a real feel for nutrient intake, where do you get: "We...only need a few hundred milligrams of sodium a day"? That just sounds dangerous to me. My n=1 was that I was only getting about 900 milligrams of sodium at best and when I got myself up to the recommended 1500 milligrams (of sodium not salt), I had fewer skipped heartbeats, more energy, yadda yadda. I go with the 1500 milligram as a baseline, and to get that, since I eat a whole foods diet, I have to be mindful to add salt to my meals.

0
Medium avatar

on January 27, 2014
at 07:37 AM

I was feeling bad in my first 2 weeks and somebody on here suggested I experiment with increasing my fat and salt intake. I now cook with salted butter (there are some very salty ones available) and it has helped with energy and mood a lot. Salt wise, obviously you can cook with the salted butter or allow some to melt on your veggies, or even look to add something more salty into your meat rotation. You could indeed look at your water brand too and switch to one with more TDS (total dissolved solids) or Dry Residue. You can also salt your water with a pinch of salt as you mentioned, I've heard Paul Chek talk about doing that and how it can improve "mouth feel" of the water and such.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!