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It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet



Will drinking more water counteract the high sodium in some foods?

I attended a health seminar where you mentioned how important it is to reduce the sodium and not have more than the daily recommended value. You gave a few examples of the amount of sodium in some fast food and chain restaurant meals and how the daily maximum could quickly be reached. If I do have these items will drinking extra water counteract the increase in sodium?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a glass of water garnished with a slice of lemon

This is a great question.

There may be a slight effect but, sadly, drinking more water won't likely offset a high sodium diet very much. The regulation of water volume as well as sodium, potassium and other electrolytes in the body is quite an elegant mechanism. The kidneys are quite efficient at holding on to electrolytes and filtering water.

While increasing water intake will help increase the excretion of sodium to some extent over time it's not likely to be to a great degree. There may be slightly more sodium in the urine but the real effect is that the urine will be much more dilute than usual.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet