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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.

Fat Retention

You will probably already have read my assertion that it is fluid retention that is the cause/initiator of obesity. You may have disagreed with me and wondered what is my explanation for the fat retention which is certainly present in many – possibly most – overweight and obese people. – Here it is: – but it is complicated and you will need to stick with me as I explain!

It had been clear to me for many years that the calorie explanation for obesity (eating too many calories and not taking much exercise – i.e. greed plus laziness) must be wrong because many – probably most – people can eat as much as they like and not become overweight, even if they take very little exercise. – They are what I call on my website ‘the lucky people’. – They are the slim people. – They are the people who have healthy veins and kidneys and are not sensitive to salt. They simply excrete in the urine any excess salt and its attendant water, so they do not gain weight by fluid retention.

I realised intuitively that the reason the slim people do not put on excess weight when they overeat is that they simply excrete any excess fat/calories they eat. (Faeces tend to contain a lot of fat/calories, which is why animal dung is used as fuel in many countries.) But I did not know the mechanism that caused the fat excretion in slim people and the fat retention in fatter people, though I did guess that it probably involved minerals in the diet, because people with fluid retention tend to be deficient in calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Then BBC2 showed a series of programmes called “The Truth About Food” and I learnt about some Danish research which throws light on this. – See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/humanbody/truthaboutfood/slim/calcium.shtml where you will read: "a high calcium intake increases the excretion of fat in the faeces". – There was the necessary information! – In fact, the researchers found that twice as much fat was excreted on a high calcium intake as on a low calcium intake – and this was independent of calorie intake. – They also found that dairy calcium (they suggest yoghurt) is a particularly good source for this extra calcium.

On one of the links - http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/calcium.html - from the BBC The Truth About Food site, it says: "Calcium is the mineral most likely to be deficient in the average diet. Let me repeat that. Calcium is the mineral most likely to be deficient in the average diet. Calcium deficiency is a condition in which we fail to receive or to metabolize an adequate supply of Calcium," and also: "Calcium helps keep the weight off. Research suggests that if you don't get enough calcium in your diet, you're likely to be overweight."

There are a number of reasons that overweight people in particular tend to be deficient in calcium. The main reason is that sodium retention/salt sensitivity/fluid retention depletes the body of calcium. 

Here are two other very simple reasons:

1. Most fat people are ‘dieting’ most of the time – i.e. they are eating insufficient food for their body’s needs.
2. Fat people are routinely advised to limit their intake of dairy food like milk because their advisors (wrongly) believe that milk is ‘fattening’.

So to reduce fat retention, if it is present, the most important thing is to alter the diet to reduce the fluid retention which is the initiating cause of excess weight and the primary reason for fat people being short of calcium and for fat people ‘dieting’. That means reducing sodium intake and ensuring plenty of fruit and vegetables in the diet (because their high potassium content helps to displace sodium from the body). 

And specifically it also means having a higher intake of calcium, especially, if possible, from a dairy source like yoghurt. – It is also necessary to ensure sufficient vitamin D intake, as this is needed to metabolise the calcium. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D and so Vitamin D is known as 'the sunshine vitamin'. Insufficiency of vitamin D is quite common, as is widely reported, e.g. here - http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp

Also read this very informative page: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Vitamin-D-Deficiency.htm

See also www.vitamindcouncil.org

Vitamin D is a complex subject and I suggest to read further about it on more authoritative webpages than mine. - Taking a high level of Vitamin D in supplement form can be harmful, so it may be wise to err on the side of caution.

In my personal opinion it is neither necessary nor desirable to adopt a low fat diet. Low fat intake can be harmful, especially for small children.

Please read my Disclaimer.

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