Sodium water retention: good or bad

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by fabiosav, May 24, 2006.

  1. fabiosav

    fabiosav New Member

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    In common with a lot of people, when I eat Chinese food (soy sauce etc.) and have a lot of sodium, the next morning I retain water and weigh more. Is this "fluid loading" potentially good for longer races on hot days? EG start out "super-hydrated"? Not the point of serios bloat, but 1-2 lbs heavier then normal.
     
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  2. DennistheMennis

    DennistheMennis New Member

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    I have Monique Ryan's book on endurance nutrition, and can look this up for you if you want.

    However, I can say right now that I get the same fluid retention effect you describe (I gain about 2 lbs when eating salty foods), and I believe it is a technique used by the military (and maybe some athletes when preparing for long races, e.g. the Iron Man Tri).

    However, I am controlling my blood pressure in part with a low-sodium diet, so I just work on replacing the sodium and water I lose as I lose them. Rule of thumb: Most athletes lose about 400mg sodium and about 0.7 liter water (through sweating mostly) per hour on average. A bagel has about that much sodium and a typical water bottle has about that much water, so I can easily keep up with sodium and water losses without resorting to sodium-loading.
     
  3. fabiosav

    fabiosav New Member

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    Interesting: I hope the bp drifts down as the miles add up. My thinking was just as an aide at the begining, to have more water to sweat... Is Monique's book good?
     
  4. DennistheMennis

    DennistheMennis New Member

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    Yes, I highly recommend Monique Ryan's book for everybody who races or rides long distances, though it's also great for any serious athlete. Good info on eating before, during and after races, etc.

    My BP hasn't changed much, though it has dropped some, because I was fairly careful about food and riding a lot even before I started tracking it. Even so it went from an average of about 129/84 to about 124/81 through better eating. Mostly low-sodium and fat, and high potassium. I didn't know it then, but I essentially started following what I've later learned is called the "paleolithic" diet by some. I just found that to eat less sodium and more potassium was very difficult without eating lots of fresh fruit and such, and my choice of foods just happened to match the paleolithic diet's approach. I've now found sodium-free bread and other very low or sodium-free foods, but I still mostly eat like a hunter-gatherer. But I digress.

    Salt-loading can work for you, but shouldn't be necessary unless you'll be in a situation where you won't be able drink enough water to replace your losses. If you're on a low-sodium diet like I am, then this may also be a good idea just before a long endurance race or ride to avoid dangerous "hyponatremia" (excessively low blood sodium levels). I haven't needed to do this though. I just replace losses as I go along.
     
  5. DJA

    DJA New Member

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    Isn't this bloating just the bodies way of dealing with with a high body salt concentration, and the best way to normalize this is to actually drink more water so that the body can flush out the excess sodium?

    I think it would be dangerous to use this type of fluid retention before long race as will start out with a high body salt% content and then increase this % of salt as the body sweats because your loose water at faster rate then salt.

    You would be much better to drink 3 to 4 Lt per day of water mixed with a glucose solution of 4% or less for a day or two before the event. The glucose solution slows the flow of water from the stomach to the small intestine by about 65% therefore allowing greater absorption of the water and less toilet stops.

    Ref: Eating for peak performance, Rosemary Stanton
     
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