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The Safe Way to Lose Weight


I have modified my original belief that the excess fluid is all in the blood vessels. I now believe that most is in the blood vessels, while some may be in the abdominal cavity (ascites), and some in the body tissues.

Low sodium in foods?

If you're unsure about which foods contain a lot of salt/sodium then click on the 'Sodium in Foods' link in the list of links on the left of each page.

The Lucky People

If you are not overweight, do not have high blood pressure, are not 'slimming' and are not in one of the vulnerable groups, then reducing your salt intake would improve your health only slightly and you may prefer not to make great changes to what you eat. - But check on the Associated Health Problems page first. - There may be another problem you have that could be helped by eating less salt.

Overweight Pets

If you have an overweight pet dog or cat it is because they have been eating food containing added salt. This is bad for them. Give them unsalted food instead. They will lose weight, have more energy and live longer.

Forget about counting calories!

There are thousands of websites where you can read about calorie-controlled diets. There are thousands of doctors and nutritionists and dieticians who will advise you to reduce calories or fat or take exercise in order to reduce weight. There are many diets you can try and probably have tried, and yet you are heavier now than before you started dieting. 

Over 90% of people who lose weight by following a 'slimming' diet regain all the weight they have lost - and more! - If that is what you want to keep doing for the rest of your life, you are on the wrong website!

Forget about calories! Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it!

Margaret Wilde
The story so far

Many years ago I gained a great deal of weight because of taking prescribed HRT.
[...] I worked out that it was oestrogen that had caused the sodium and water retention and this was confirmed when I looked up the side-effects of oestrogen. I then realised that oestrogen was a steroid, though it is not normally referred to as such, and that the sodium and water retention came about because certain steroids and certain other drugs weaken the walls of the blood vessels. I realised that I was a 'steroid victim'...
read more

Obesity and the Salt Connection

What follows is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote for the monthly glossy magazine of Mensa, the high IQ society, of which I am a member. It was published in the December 2004 issue. Four months later, the April 2005 issue contained a letter from Joyce Barnard, who has given permission for her name to be used here. She wrote that by following the advice I had given her a few years earlier - i.e. that to lower her high blood pressure and lose weight she simply needed to eat less sodium - she had lost 5 stones in weight (70 pounds) in a year! - All she did was stop sprinkling salt onto her meals and use LoSalt instead of ordinary salt when cooking.
read more

Social and Economic Considerations

Obesity is not necessarily caused by eating to excess or by insufficient exercise. There has never been a scrap of reproducible scientific research or evidence to support the theory that it is only excess calorie intake that causes obesity, nor that calorie deficit necessarily reduces obesity. The theory and the advice it spawns should be abandoned forthwith. They cause great harm and suffering. When people whose blood vessels are weaker than the norm eat salt, the result is weight gain and obesity (because of excess sodium and water held in the blood vessels). This condition is sometimes called sodium retention or water retention. If these people reduce their salt intake they lose some of the excess sodium and water, and so lose weight, and if they eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables they lose weight faster, because the potassium in the fruit and vegetables displaces some of the excess sodium from the body.
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When I looked on 23rd October 2006 at page http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthydiet/foodmyths/#elem221121 - part of the Food Standards Agency stable of websites - I saw the paragraph:

"The most effective way to lose weight – and keep it off – is by changing your lifestyle for good. You need to eat a healthy balanced diet, which means eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, basing your meals on starchy foods, cutting down on foods high in sugar or fat, and by being more physically active."

But actually, cutting down on fat and being more physically active are not necessary in order to lose weight. - All that is normally necessary to lose weight is to eat less salt/sodium, and, preferably, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, because the potassium these contain helps to displace excess sodium from the body.

Nor was there any mention on page http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthissues/obesity/ of the role of salt sensitivity and fluid retention in causing obesity and the need to eat less salt if you want to lose weight. Although the page does concede that "Sometimes certain medical conditions and drug treatments can cause weight gain," it has the usual (yawn!) misinformation about calories. - I quote: "When someone is obese, it means they have put on weight to the point that it could seriously endanger their health. This is caused by a combination of eating too many calories and not doing enough physical activity." This is simply not true!

See also my Fat Retention page.

And please read my Disclaimer.

Forget about calories! - Cut down on salt! - You'll lose weight fast - as if by magic!

Obesity - Vulnerable Groups

In recent years people have been eating more convenience foods and these are high in salt. Salt can cause obesity and health problems in vulnerable people. read more

People taking steroids or HRT

If you have gained a lot of weight and become obese because of taking prescribed steroids or HRT then I have very good news for you!
read more


When children become fat it is essentially because they are eating salty food. Children are especially vulnerable to salt because of their small size and small blood volume, and because their blood vessels are weaker than those of adults... read more

Pregnant Mothers

During pregnancy a woman's hormone levels alter. The hormone most relevant to undesirable weight gain is oestrogen... read more

People taking amitriptyline

Patients may sometimes find it helps with the problem for which it has been prescribed, but be that as it may, it frequently produces a host of adverse side-effects, including weight gain... read more

PMT Sufferers

...most or possibly all of these symptoms are the result of fluid retention and will be lessened or avoided by reducing salt intake... read more