Question: I’ve lost 40 pounds in the last year. I weigh myself daily and have noticed that if I eat something salty (like pizza with anchovies), my weight can be up 3 or 4 pounds. I assume this is caused by water retention.
So here’s the question: Would it be a good ideato eat something salty a day or so before a long ride in the summer to help stay hydrated with the extra water and also provide extra salt? — Jim P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Congratulations on your weight loss!
Salt does make your body store water. That’s why sports drinks contain sodium. If they didn’t, your body would simply urinate away the fluid instead of retaining it long enough for it to do you good.
When I rode the Team Race Across America, I used Gatorade but added a pinch of salt to each bottle. Gatorade doesn’t contain much sodium, and the people at the Gatorade lab suggested adding some. It helped me stay hydrated in temperatures of 112F in the California desert and over 90 with high humidity from Oklahoma to the finish in Georgia.
In the same way, salting your food liberally the day before a hot-weather ride can help with fluid requirements and may prevent cramps in susceptible individuals.
But first, you should check with your physician to make sure that adding salt isn’t a health hazard for you.