Interesting discussion of salt and ancestral health

(Bob M) #1

I keep seeing where people who – particularly – are carnivore eat little salt. But I often wonder things like, what their (edited from “there”) activity level is, how much do they sweat, what their coffee/tea intake is. I know I have to eat more salt, but I sweat a lot and drink 3 cups of coffee per day.

I think the following seems like a reasonable discussion of this:


It was informative! :slight_smile: And it was sooo nice not to read some general numbers for everyone as it’s not how people work individually at all.

I wonder if this anti-salt thing that was mentioned is really like that in some other countries? No one ever told me not to salt my food heavily. I salted as I just wanted. Maybe there were recommendations but there were pretty distant, my family surely didn’t care and I didn’t see it elsewhere either. It was 1-2 decades ago when school kitchens started to take away salt shakers…

A lack of awareness that water is a component of food & other beverages.

I wonder who is that stupid? Of course some of our water need may come from not pure water drinks (even coffee, I totally could hydrate myself with coffee on some days, at least until the evening, even I didn’t drink 2 liters of coffee and I needed that much as my food contained little and I am a thirsty type) and our food as well (many vegs, fruits, soups, and boiled grains are especially good at that but meat too, at least if it’s not fried to oblivion like mine sometimes :slight_smile: my normal roasts still have water but it’s nothing to me. many dairy is very wet too etc.). But it’s pretty much obvious… Water is everywhere.

I sweat very little but I am not very active either. Just moderately, hopefully I can raise it a bit. I drink a lot and I make sure my sodium intake is lowish as the recommended amount makes my life horrible in a few days. Don’t underestimate the personal factor.

But I can’t do the “no added salt” carnivore style. I need more salt than that. But when I will be manage to stick to carnivore longer, I will make some experiments with less sodium. I still with add it to my food but some dishes need very little. I can eat 1 kg meat (too much for me) using 2g salt and feeling it’s perfectly salty.
I am mildly curious. If I will have data, I will report back if you are still interested. But of course you will be, you are an inquisitive person too.

I just can say that…
I seem to function best around 5g salt a day. I don’t have extreme days or if I have, I don’t track salt often so it is probably different there a bit… No noticeable sweating most of the time, very many weak (and now small) coffees a day when I don’t manage to avoid coffee (it always come back), no to moderate activity (usually the latter)…
I drink a lot because I am thirsty a lot. I skip 4 hours, I feel I am dying and feel parched even after drinking 1 liters of water. I can’t keep water on my desk because I just drink it. I tried drinking half a liter downstairs and bring up half a liter, it disappeared in no time. A glass is useless, 2 minutes later I have none.
So I am some interesting combination…? At least I don’t sweat much.
But I am very sure there is some serious personal factor among the others.

(Pete A) #3

I’m active, don’t sweat much, drink alot of water, and use a little salt in some cooking. Not much though. I also drink salted water (and gargle with it). I’ve never craved it in my life.

I have chronically low sodium (a little under the minimum). One doctor said add more, eat salty things, the body doesn’t create it. The next doctor wanted me on a low sodium diet.

I’m doing what I want now and that’ll have to work. And am married to hot epsom salt baths haha

Good info in the article.

(Edith) #4

I enjoyed the article. I think he makes very valid points. And, like he pointed out, while it is fun and maybe somewhat useful to look back at how our earlier ancestors lived, what they ate and drank, we really can’t compare to our modern existences. They not only didn’t eat processed foods, but they didn’t have farmed food, and they didn’t have all the toxic substances we have put into our environment since the dawn of the industrial revolution. That’s probably best saved for another thread.

Every once in a while when I am feeling philosophical about water intake, I think back to when I was a kid. I drank juice or milk before school, maybe eight ounces, milk from the little half pint carton at lunch, and then whatever I drank once I was home from school. There were water fountains at school, but of course, we were discouraged from getting drinks because that took away from class time. Yes, I had a smaller body in elementary school, but the availability of things to drink didn’t change as I worked my way through junior high and high school. I was also always very active. I’m pretty darn sure I didn’t drink nearly as much fluid as I do now.

What happened? These days, I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle. I think perhaps its adaptation. Because I drink more water, my body it used to having more water. Maybe I can wean myself to lower levels?

As far as my salt intake is concerned: when I was mostly a stay-at-home mom, my days were very active. It was rare when I had a day where I didn’t get 10,000 steps. Now I’m working full-time in an air-conditioned environment, sitting at a desk. The amount of salt I supplement has definitely decreased. Maybe if I cut back on my fluid intake, I won’ need that last extract bit of salt I’ve been supplementing.


I agree, just too many factors changed between our ancient anchestors and us, we can’t compare and we definitely couldn’t eat like they did, the soil is different, the plants, the animals… I don’t even know what exactly happens to the animals I eat when I just buy it from the supermarket because that is what I mostly can do?

I don’t remember my water intake in my childhood but I probably drank less. Or I just forgot. I don’t remember bringing a water bottle everywhere (of course, I could drink in any hour from the tap) but I don’t remember being super thirsty as a young adult either.
I remember drinking 1 liter of milk for breakfast in summer though it probably didn’t happen all the time… (It was just my drink, I ate a full blown meal with plenty from all 3 macros, it was a late enough breakfast after I did lots of shopping. I was a short little girl with big appetite and serious eating abilities.)
But in the last maybe 2 decades I definitely was thirsty often. I just need much water but interestingly, more like towards the end of the day, barely any in the beginning. Why? I wake up, no water since so many hours… I do start with drinking but just a little. Not the huge mugfuls I drink in the evenings sometimes (if I don’t do that, I drink smaller mugfuls but more frequently). I can’t not drink much, sometimes I accidentally skip hours and I feel so very parched and even drinking a lot can’t help enough… No one can take away my precious water or its copious amounts. But I do small sips when I travel or walk or something too, I am able to do that too. And when I once tried to drink 4 liters of water on a day, it was awful. My body complains if it gets much, that’s why I can’t imagine ever overhydrating myself. I may be thirsty but if I feel I had too much, I can’t drink. It happens very rarely, I had that when I cycled uphill in hot summer, nothing makes me more thirsty than that but eventually I have to stop drinking and tolerate the thirst. Smart body :slight_smile:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #6

What happened was Tim Noakes and The Lore of Running. He recommended that runners needed to hydrate and the sport drink manufacturers took it from there. It was also Tim Noakes that first began to warn against the dangers of over-hydrating, as well. He apologised to one marathoner who ended up hospitalised from an electrolyte imbalance. Unfortunately, a number of people have died from over hydrating.

I remember the days before staying hydrated was a thing, and no one was keeling over and dying from lack of liquid. One of the stupidest statements I’ve heard in this connection is that if we feel thirsty, we are already dangerously dehydrated. That’s like saying that if we feel hungry we are dangerously close to starving to death.

As far as carnivores who don’t need to salt their food go, one possible explanation is that without glycogen requiring water-retention, perhaps we just don’t need as much salt, even though the kidneys are excreting it faster than they do when our insulin is elevated.

#7 diet.
Stephen Phinney great info on sodium intake. He suggests 5 gm daily. He makes distinction between salt and sodium. Salt only being 40% sodium.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #8

Yes. The data show that we are healthiest when our sodium intake is 4-6 g/day. That translates to 10-15 g/day of sodium chloride, if you were to get it all from salting your food. But many foods already contain sodium, and that counts.


And I still keep reading that, it’s super annoying. And I experience all the time that it’s very obviously wrong… I am thirsty A LOT, no matter how much I drink (if I drink too much, I get more thirsty anyway).
Anyway, what is our thirst feeling for then? Telling us “hello, last warning, you will die soon”? :smiley: While we get hungry so super quickly… Eh.

Some people are truly thirsty and it may change in our life, it doesn’t necessarily has anything to do with people I don’t even know. I need my water bottle in several situations because I get parched in no time. Uphill cycling is basically impossible for me without drinking (at least in summer, it’s the worst then), annoying but I can’t help it. Good thing I can drink to my heart content and never listened to anyone who wanted to restrict me :smiley: My own body restricts me when needed, it’s enough and even a stupid belief couldn’t help then. I feel sorry for others who doesn’t have it like this and even are easily influenced by the wrong people. And the ones who barely drink, where is their thirst?

But the difference is just too huge… I suppose the carnivores not needing added salt doesn’t have a big need even on a carbier keto, we know many carnivores uses a decent amount of salt… If multiple factors point it the same direction, we get these people who are fine with little sodium. I don’t even know HOW little, I just know that my food contains very, very, too little salt naturally when I am not heavy on processed stuff like cheese and sausage and especially bacon, the Super Fatty Item I need to use in tiny amounts due to its saltiness. 30g (well the kind I have, IDK the differences) adds enough salt to 120g pork liver (for me who doesn’t like very salty food) and they are good together :).
But maybe the carnivores who don’t use extra salt eat much more than me… Even so, if they just use fresh meat and maybe eggs, that’s low sodium. I definitely couldn’t get more than about 1g from them… While my ideal and natural amount is about 2g, apparently, on every woe as far as I can tell and going way lower or way higher feels wrong. As far as my very tiny experiments go as I automatically eat my ideal amount, I need extreme circumstances or salt eating or fasting to stray from that.
Carnivore lowered my saltiness need but not seriously yet.


This. we can never ever compare ancestral food against todays food even tho we ‘keep on tryin’ here’ on this mute point :slight_smile: SO agree.

==========I am a big salter. 6 yrs and going strong and feeling fine on bigger salt intake. I need it point blank. more I try to dump down salt worse I get. I found ME on salt intake. Now I say stop reading what ‘someone recommends to you’ from some guru site. We all can easily, very easily know what our salt intake should be thru personal use and results on our bodies.

Final answer. DO YOU on salt intake as you must. Leave the stupid what others need behind ya and forget it. Now do we need some help sometimes, we sure do on experiences but if ONE DOES SALT on their body and listens to just that, you will never be wrong or who cares if ya don’t fall into some ‘who said what’ vid or post ya say. Doesn’t mean anything :slight_smile:

that is my take on it.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #11

The only thing I’ve read about salt on carnivore is that some long-term carnivores have found over time that they no longer need to salt their food, and they do just fine. They never say that doing that is right for anyone else; it’s just their own personal experience. As you always say, Karen, “You do you”!

(Bob M) #12

That idea about being dehydrated supposedly came about by studies done by Gatorade and the like.

I see people all the time with huge bottles of water.

There was a thread on Twitter where a lot of carnivores recorded lower salt intake. I’ve seen Amber O’Hearn argue that this is what SHOULD happen.

But I think there are too many variables, like exercise type, duration, location, temperature, genetics, etc. For instance, I worked out on Thursday in my basement. It’s unheated and in the low 60s down there. I still sweat enough to use a towel.


I think so too.

By the way, I experienced this again today: I made a food with too little salt to my taste - and I still can eat it without problems. It’s so weird, I found not salty enough food inedible in the past… I am definitely changing and it started when I started to flirt with carnivore…
I can eat completely unsalted meat too, I just find it tastier with a little salt. 1g salt for a pound of roast (raw weight) is perfect.
Still didn’t do experiments with truly low salt intake for days but I probably will. I prefer it happening naturally. If I am able to eat mostly fresh meat and eggs, it inevitably will happen as they have very little sodium even if I salt them properly :slight_smile: But my extra items (sausage, cheese, dishes I prefer saltier) always bumped up my sodium intake to the usual level.