Is Your Hunger Triggered by a Lack of Sodium?
Sodium is crucial in our diet.
It helps muscles contract and regulates fluid balance so we don’t become dehydrated.
It also plays a role when it comes to sending nerve impulses throughout the body.
That being said…
The majority of the population is likely getting too much sodium per day.
I bet most of this sodium intake happens over 1-2 meals.
I don’t think we have a lack of sodium issue.
When you go several hours without food or sweat in the gym, sodium levels can dip lower than is optimal.
Your body’s protective mechanism against low sodium levels is hunger.
We will talk more about that after a quick music break.
The music theme for this post is killer mashups created by people on Youtube.
When sodium levels dip your body releases a hormone called Ghrelin.
It is discussed in this study:
“…sodium deficiency may trigger an increase in ‘salt appetite’ in order to restore sodium and fluid balance.”
Your body will seek food to get sodium.
Consuming extra calories just to balance sodium?
This isn’t an ideal situation to be in if you are trying to lose weight.
Low sodium can especially become an issue with Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting lowers your insulin levels and the lower your insulin goes the more sodium your kidneys secrete.
What can you do?
My friend Greg O’Gallagher of Kinobody recommends drinking a cup of broth if you get hungry during the fasting period.
One cup supplies about 10 calories and 500mg of sodium.
Note: I have a friend who is my age and looks 10 years younger than me (at least). He’s been using chicken broth as a diet aid for years.
Maybe broth is the fountain of youth?
You don’t have to stick to broth.
Icelandic Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach and co-creator of my High Carb Fat Loss course, Mark Kislich, likes to snack on homemade tomato soup throughout the day.
(Not meant for a fasting period and is better for a snack in your eating window.)
He basically just puts organic tomatoes in a blender, then adds in chopped onions and a dash of salt and other spices when he heats on the stove.
Tomatoes on their own don’t have much sodium.
If you used canned tomatoes to make this (like I do) it will be around 300mg in 1 can.
Don’t add extra salt if you use canned tomatoes.
Another great low-calorie source of sodium is fermented foods.
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut also fight xenoestrogens and improve gut health.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals we are exposed to that boost estrogen levels and can cause us to hold onto stubborn body fat.
Some foods have been shown to fight this.
I’ve written a detailed post about this, here:
You don’t need to eat a lot of this stuff.
A little goes a long way.
A couple of ounces of kimchi or sauerkraut can have 300-400mg of sodium.
Isn’t too much sodium per day a problem?
I do NOT believe we need to add more sodium to our diet, but simply need to spread it out better throughout the day.
Consider reducing it in your large meals.
Add in a cup of broth or a bite of fermented food in between meals.
The recommended sodium intake per day is 1500mg if you are prone to high blood pressure and 2,300mg per day if not.
There are studies that recommend more sodium.
I’m not comfortable recommending higher amounts of sodium on my blog.
If you workout or are an athlete who sweats a decent amount?
You may need more sodium.
If you fast throughtout the day?
You may need more sodium.
Sodium intake varies so much from individual to individual I’m ONLY comfortable recommending the lower amounts of 1500-2300mg per day.
*This is a controversial subject.
The main takeway of this article:
Spread your sodium intake out throughout the day to avoid unnecessary hunger.
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
Click Here to check out my premium courses.