Does water retention from salt continuously build up

So salt causes water retention and hence weight gain. Does that build up more and more over time? E.g. if I eat X mg of salt every single day, does that mean that I always weigh one pound more than I otherwise would, and if I eat 2X mg, I always weight 2 pounds more than I otherwise would? Or, if X mg/day of salt is too much, will I continue to gain water weight month after month, so I could be 50 pounds overweight someday just from salt-based water retention?

In other words can I get away with eating as much salt as I want if I just accept I’ll weigh a pound or two more all the time but not 50?
thanks gang!!!

The dangers of long term, consistent over consumption of salt have been debated for decades. There is a shrinking minority saying that as long as your have two good kidneys and plenty of fresh water then there’s not reason to limit your intake.

When your body takes in salt then it needs water to keep itself in balance. If it doesn’t have the water then your kidneys struggle to remove the sodium and it becomes impossible to maintain correct blood chemistry. Eventually this will lead to salt poisoning but you’re going to feel all kinds of misery before you die. If you have enough water, adequate nutrition and properly functioning kidneys then the body can flush the salt away as fast as any sane person could consume it. The downside is that your heart has to work harder to pump all the excess fluid around. This long term stress will (according to most health experts) produce heart damage which will lead to excess fluid retention and a downward spiral into heart failure.

There are a vast number of lifestyle and genetic factor that influence this. It’s not possible to say that because your uncle Bob ate a pound a salt pork every day right up to his ninety eighth birthday then you can consume salt at will.

Listen to your body and do what works for you. Don’t stress about the occasional salted caramel but in general, don’t over do it.

To more directly answer your question, no, water retention does not continuously build up as long as your kidneys keep filtering and your heart keep pumping well. When either of these start to fail, fluid will build up with bad consequences. When the inevitable failure of these organs occurs, whether it’s at your fortieth or your ninetieth birthday, if you have high salt consumption then it will probably be a factor in their failure.

Once again straightdope saves my life! You guys should feel really good about yourselves and what you do for others here. :slight_smile: (awww)