Do You Need More Salt on the Carnivore Diet?
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Ever since the 1960’s and 70’s salt has consistently gotten a bad wrap due to some poorly done research on lab animals. In truth, salt isn’t bad. It is essential and when it pertains to the carnivore diet you should add it to your food and diet according to doctors.
We are going to explore why salt has been demonized, how salt is essential for our lives, the role of salt within the low-carb and carnivore diets and look at some recommendations based on carnivore diet practitioners and doctors.
What is Salt?
Salt is a mineral primarily consisting of sodium chloride. Sodium is needed for the proper function of your cell membranes. In fact, every single one needs it in order to pass particle/chemicals in and out.
Sodium and chloride are electrolytes and essential for life and when you are low on them you will experience health problems and even death.
Here is the list of electrolytes you have probably heard of.
Why Was Salt Demonized?
From what I found salt got the bad wrap staring in the early 1900s when a few French doctors reported that 6 of their patients who had been diagnosed with hypertension were also addicted to salt and noted as “fiends”.
Then in the 1960s and 70’s a doctor named Lewis Dahl published his study on rats in which he gave his test subjects high amounts of salt and concluded that salt caused hypertension. The amount given to the rats when compared to a human equivalent of 500 grams.
The research published by Dahl was used by the US’s federal government to come up with a recommended daily allowance. In 1977 with the backing of Senator George McGovern the guidelines were published which suggested the consumption of salt be less than 3 grams per day. A decrease of 50-85% of what was generally consumed at the time.
Today The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.
Dr. Ken Barry points out that the more recent studies on salt show that the restriction of salt or having too little actually increases your mortality rate. He goes into detail on the importance of salt in this YouTube video.
Also salt is nicely written about in Scientific America in an article titled, “It’s Time to End the War on Salt.”
One of the best books ever written on salt is called, “The Salt Fix: Why Experts Got it All Wrong and How Eating More Salt Might Save Your Life.”
Your Body on The Carnivore Diet
When you begin the carnivore diet or any other low to zero-carb diet like Keto or Atkins, your body begins to expel more water and your kidneys become more efficient.
Also with the reduction of carbohydrates, your body stores less water hence the hydrate in carbohydrate. What this means is that along with the water so goes your electrolytes and sodium chloride being one of them.
During these diets, your insulin doesn’t spike as much and as a result, this flushes more water and electrolytes. For a full breakdown of the carnivore diet and some crazy stories you will want to check out, “Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource.”
How Much is Recommended for Low-carb and Carnivore diets?
Listening to some of the doctors and specialists within the low carb and carnivore diet arenas I’ve found that they like to recommend a starting point of around 5 grams of sodium per day.
(This is different than 5 grams as salt, for instance a teaspoon of Redmond Real Salt has a little over 2 grams of sodium. Just read the nutrition facts on the ingredient section of the salt you purchase.)
I highly recommend Redmond and you can even use this code “WILD” at checkout to get 15% off!
Other people within the Crossfit and high-intensity interval training communities are saying you need at least 8 to 10 grams per day or more.
They also note that going too low with your salt is more dangerous than going too high. When you are not getting enough sodium your body will begin to steal it from your bones and from there your health will spiral downward fast and even lead to osteoporosis and kidney problems.
What I’ve seen is that everyone is different and blanket recommendations don’t work. However more seems to be a lot better than less.
Salt Consumption Ideas
I always try to make sure I have enough salt in my diet daily. The way I do this is by adding a teaspoon to about an 8-ounce cup of water in the morning. This is a good hack for one to wake up fast and two damper your morning cortisol levels.
I’m also sure to add copious amounts to my meals. After a while, you begin to notice the right amount based on taste.
When I am doing a high-intensity exercise session or know that I am going to be sweating heavily I definitely make sure that I take a tablespoon or more of salt before or after such activities. It’s my pre-workout.
As you will see in this video having too low of salt levels can stress the body out, especially if you are older.
Keto Flu and Carnivore Flu
A lot of newcomers to the low carb and carnivore diet get flu-like symptoms as their bodies transform to a physiology that can accommodate this way of eating.
In the beginning stages, their bodies are dumping electrolytes like crazy so it’s imperative that they include a higher amount of salt in their diets to compensate for the loss and feel better.
My opinion of salt has changed drastically and because I am a low carb and carnivore diet practitioner I am a lot more conscious of making sure I include it in my meals.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and I go into detail on, “How the Carnivore Diet Sent Me to The Emergency Room.” Don’t do the stupid things I did.
Also if you are concerned with the keto or carnivore flu we wrote an informative article on the subject and possible remedies.
Hands down my favorite salt brand is Redmond Real Salt. These guys have a fantastic company and source their salt from an ancient salt bed in Redmond, Utah. Plus they hook our readers with a 15% discount either use this link or type in WILD at checkout!
It’s less likely to have microplastics within it which you will tend to find from salt procured from the oceans.
Do yourself a favor and buy it bulk. They have this massive container that will last you a long time.
Check out our YouTube channel for more meaty content and shenanigans here!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.