if I drink huge amounts of water, does it matter what my sodium intake is?

I’m on a diet, and I’ve been using this handy little tool the USDA has called the Interactive Healthy Eating Index. Basically, you go to the website, tell them what you’ve eaten (and how much) in the past 24 hours, and they’ll tell you if you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, tell you how much of this vitamin you got, compare your diet to the average American. It’s quite handy. But I’ve been eating too much sodium, according to them. 1.5 times the RDA almost. Which is odd, since I don’t add salt to my food at all. But then I realized, I eat a lot of soup, and canned soup has lots of sodium. The soups I have in my cabinet have about half of your RDA for sodium in one serving.

BUt, then I thought about how much water I drink. About a gallon a day, which is twice what they recommend, isn’t it? Wouldn’t all that water flush out the salt? Or maybe I drink so much water because of the amount of salt I consume? I don’t wait to drink when I’m thirsty, it’s just a habit I have when I’m sitting at home. In fact, since I got home from school an hour and a half ago, I’ve had 3 16 oz glasses of water. I just drink constantly if I’m at the computer or watching TV.

So, should I worry about my sodium intake? I’m thinking about buying low-sodium soup next time I go shopping anyway, because I’m pretty sure that’s the main problem.

It’s hard to say. Most people get plenty (way more than encessary) of sodium in a “normal” diet. But if you are eating foods low in sodium, and drinking lots of water, it might be a concern. It’s not just sodium, but electrolites in general. IANAD, but if your urine is unusually bright orange, that’s an indication of low electrolite levels. You might want to think of drinking a sports drink like GatorAid instead of water. Not all the time, but some of the time.

Most dudes don’t have to worry about their Sodium intake. But a significant minority does. Have you seen your Doc? Ask him if you are one of the unlucky few - this is important, trust me on this! :cool:

Even CR stopped getting too excited about Sodium. But for some it can be bad. Look into it, ask your Doc.

If you have normal kidney function, & you aren’t taking diuretics, you don’t have much to worry about. Your kidneys save electrolytes, which includes sodium when needed and dumps them when not needed. The kidneys are amazing organs
One gallon of water a day isn’t a huge amount. If you took in, say, 5 gallons, your kidneys might not be able to keep up.
Your urine will be colorless or nearly so with dilution. When urine is orange or dark yellow, it merely means the kidneys have been preserving water, or you’ve been asleep.
Your body regulates sodium and other electrolyes very well. There’s a saying in medicine: “The dumbest kidney is still smarter than the smartest doctor.”

I depends. My mother has congestive heart failure, which causes her body to retain water. She has to watch both her sodium and fluid intake. Too much of either and she’s in trouble.

If you drink a lot of water it can wash the electrolytes out of your body; it happens to ecstasy users, who get very thirsty after taking it, and start drinking water. Too much water can be fatal, but if you don’t drink litres in one go, you will be fine.