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Does Potassium Make You Gain Weight?

by
author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Does Potassium Make You Gain Weight?
A woman is measuring her waist. Photo Credit YunYulia/iStock/Getty Images

Most adults in the U.S. carry excess body weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there are a number of reasons why Americans are gaining weight, getting too much potassium in the diet is not one of them. In fact, upping your intake of potassium-rich foods may help you lose water weight.

Reasons for Weight Gain

The most likely reason for weight gain is a calorie imbalance, says the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which means you are eating more calories than your body burns. In addition to eating too many calories and not getting enough exercise, your genes may also predispose you to weight gain. However, the CDC says your genetics are not set in stone when it comes to your weight. Certain medications such as such as steroids and antidepressants, as well as diseases such as Cushing's disease, may also cause weight gain.

Potassium 101

Potassium is a mineral your body needs to build proteins and muscle, break down and use carbohydrates, maintain acid-base balance and control the electrical activity of your heart. It's found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, soy and dairy products. Having too much or too little potassium in your body can lead to an irregular heartbeat, warns MedlinePlus.

Potassium and Weight Loss

Upping your intake of potassium may play a role in helping you lose weight. The American Heart Association says that the more potassium you consume, the more sodium your body excretes. Too much sodium causes fluid retention in some people. Getting rid of sodium with higher intakes of potassium may help those people lose some of their water weight. Additionally, foods high in potassium -- fruits and vegetables -- are also low in calories, and filling your diet with low-calorie foods may help you limit your overall calorie intake for better calorie balance.

Considerations for Limiting Potassium

Your kidneys are responsible for helping maintain blood potassium balance in your body. If your kidneys aren't working well, they may have a tough time maintaining that balance, which can lead to elevated blood levels of potassium. If you have kidney disease, you may need to limit your intake of potassium-rich foods.

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