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Salty Pounds

July 12th, 2006

I’ve been trying to lose weight this year, and have been pretty successful. I lost almost 10 kilos since the beginning of the year before I hit a plateau; in the past few weeks I’ve been on a stricter diet-and-exercise regime, and I was gaining ground–I lost two more kilos in that time. But early this week, I found that I had put those two kilos back on almost overnight. What the…?

It turns out the culprit was… pretzels. I bought some at Costco last weekend, seeing as how they were low-calorie, low-fat, etc.–a good snack, it seemed. At first I was stunned, and couldn’t believe that eating a small number of pretzels could increase my weight by several times the full weight of the pretzels themselves. I was still puzzling over it this morning until I figured it out: pretzels are salty.

These particular pretzels were very salty, in fact. That’s OK with me–I love salty stuff. But a Biology lesson from back in high school flashed through my mind: when you increase the amount of salt in your body, your body increases your fluid retention in order to balance the saline concentration. I did a quick Google search and confirmed it. So eating lots of salt means you retain fluids, and gain weight. Damn! And I like pretzels, too–I thought I’d found a new good snack.

The good news is that it’s fluid weight, not fatty weight, which means (I hope) that staying away from salt and drinking a lot of water should help flush the salt from my system, and the weight should fall off rather easily.

Surprised the hell outta me, though.

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