Do Low-Carb Dieters Need to Salt Their Food?

salt on a low carb diet

Do Low-Carb Dieters Need to Salt Their Food?

Our society has been taught to fear salt, and there are some people for which a low-salt diet may be appropriate. 

But, if you are a healthy low-carb dieter, salting your food may help you feel better!

In this post , I will explain the role that salt plays in your diet and why your need for the minerals in salt might increase when you follow a low-carb diet.

Do Low-Carb Dieters Need to Salt Their Food? [Video]

In this video, you’ll learn…

  • The role that salt plays in your diet.
  • Why your need for salt may increase on a low-carb diet.
  • Alternative sources of sodium.
  • When to increase sodium intake.

The Role of Salt in Your Diet

Typical table salt is a compound made up of sodium and chloride. Sodium, in particular, helps your body maintain sufficient blood volume and fluid levels and it also plays an important role in nerve and muscle function.

importance of sodium

One of the mechanisms that holds sodium in your body is a high level of insulin. When you go on a low-carb diet, insulin levels drop causing your kidneys to flush sodium out of your body. (1)

If you don’t sufficiently replenish that lost sodium, you’ll feel lightheaded, tired, and weak, and be prone to headaches.

low sodium intake

Proper Daily Sodium Intake for a Low-Carb Diet

One of the things you can do to prevent these symptoms is to add salt to your food. According to Dr. Stephen Phinney who is a leading authority on low-carb and keto diets, a beneficial range for a person without kidney or heart-related issues is 4 to 5 grams of sodium per day. (2)

proper sodium intake

While estimating your intake of sodium is challenging, most people will find that a slight increase in the salt they put on their food helps them feel better.

Note: For some people, a low-salt diet may be appropriate. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart or kidney issues.

Alternative Options for Sodium Intake

If adding salt is not something you’d like to do, you can get sodium and other important electrolytes from one or two cups of bone broth or a few drops of a good electrolyte supplement like the one we use in our home called Endure.

Keep in mind that if you are working in a hot environment or exercising heavily, you’ll increase your secretion of sodium so an extra dose of salt at those times may be needed to keep you feeling good!

times when you should increase sodium intake


(1) Tiwari, Swasti, Shahla Riazi, and Carolyn A. Ecelbarger. “Insulin’s impact on renal sodium transport and blood pressure in health, obesity, and diabetes.” American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology 293.4 (2007): F974-F984.

(2) Health, Virta. “Dr. Stephen Phinney: How Much Sodium Should You Consume on a Ketogenic Diet?” YouTube, YouTube, 11 May 2018, 

About the Author

Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

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