Does Salt Make You Fat?

Salt or sodium chloride is a common ingredient used in most dishes. While dieters pay attention to getting nutrients from different foods, they usually ignore salt in their diet. What they do not understand is that salt is among the deadliest ingredients in the food supply. A high-salt diet can always raise blood pressure and lead to hypertension that in turn may cause strokes or heart attacks. New research has found that salt is a lot more dangerous than people think. Excessive intake of salt may be linked to dementia, osteoporosis, cancer, and many other health issues.

Does Salt Make You Fat?

Yes, salt and salty foods, such as cookies, chips, cheese, processed soups, etc. can make you fat because they are loaded with sugar and fat. When consumed in large amounts, these processed foods can always lead to weight gain. There are some other reasons why salt makes you fat. For instance:

  • It increases your hunger. When you eat salt, it triggers the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine that is associated with your brain's pleasure center. That is the reason why salty foods can be as addictive as alcohol or nicotine. You always crave more, and since salty foods like French fries, potato chips, etc., are also high in calories and fat, they can make you fat in a short time.
  • It increases thirst. The problem is that when people feel thirsty after loading up on salt, they do not drink water but reach out for sugar and calorie-rich beverages. This behavior contributes to weight gain.
  • It increases insulin production. Excessive salt intake may change the way your body metabolizes fat and lead to weight gain. This increases the production of insulin that changes the way your body stores excess sugar as fat, which in turn increases your weight.

How Much Salt Do You Need Per Day?

Now that you have answer to your question, "Does salt make you fat?" You may also want to know how much to eat every day to avoid gaining weight.

Experts are of the view that you should not eat more than 2,300mg of sodium in a day, which equals to the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt. It is also important to keep your potassium intake around 4,700mg a day to maintain a balance between sodium and potassium. Research shows that about 70% of Americans are at a high risk of developing certain diseases, so they need to cut salt intake even more. You should limit your salt intake to 1,500mg a day if you are an African-American, have hypertension, or are diabetic.

Side Effects of Having Too Much Salt

Does salt make you fat? Yes, it does. Are there any additional side effects of having too much salt? Yes, there are. Here is more about it:

  • Hypertension: One obvious side effect of consuming too much of salt is high blood pressure or hypertension. The condition affects over 50 million Americans and is mostly associated with excessive salt intake – being constantly under stress may also lead to the development of hypertension.
  • Fluid retention: Fluid retention or edema refers to fluid accumulation in your body. Hot weather, hormone changes, and high salt intake can cause this condition. It causes swelling in the ankles, hands, and feet. Drinking a lot of water and cutting back on salt intake helps alleviate this condition.
  • Hypernatremia: You develop this condition when the level of salt in your body is higher than what it should normally be. Other factors such as abnormalities that prevent water absorption, use of certain drugs, and reduced water intake can also lead to this condition.
  • Cancer: Eating salted foods increases your risk to develop cancer by 15%. Research has also found links between high salt intake and stomach cancer. Salty foods can irritate the stomach lining and lead to a bacterial infection that in turn causes stomach cancer.
  • Osteoporosis: Being on a high salt diet will increase calcium loss that weakens your bones and lead to osteoporosis. Excessive sodium intake may also be associated with a decrease in hipbone density in postmenopausal women.
  • Diabetes: Eating slated food may increase insulin resistance and leads to diabetes, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease.
  • Dementia: Sodium can cause hypertension and hypertension can affect your brain in a way that you develop other conditions such as dementia. Research shows that people with high blood pressure are up to 600% more likely to deal with stroke-related dementia.
  • Sleep apnea: High salt intake can cause hypertension and it can affect your sleep pattern. The less you sleep, the higher chances of you noticing an increase in your blood pressure, which will cause further sleep deprivation.
  • Kidney disease: High blood pressure caused by excessive salt intake will eventually damage blood vessels in your body, including the kidneys. You may not notice any symptoms until your kidneys work at less than 10% of normal.

Tips to Reduce Your Salt Intake

Now you know the answer to your question, "Does salt make you fat?" and also know the side effects of being on a high salt diet. It is important to learn how you can reduce your salt intake to avoid dealing with these side effects. Here are some steps to take:

  • Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Similarly, avoid bacon, luncheon meat, sausage, hot dogs, and ham, and instead opt for fresh meat, which is lower in sodium.
  • Look for low-sodium products if you really want to buy processed foods.
  • Try recipes that do not require much salt, such as soups, casseroles, stews, etc.
  • Do not use too much of sodium-laden condiments. The list includes salad dressings, soy sauce, ketchup, sauces, mustard, dips, and so on.
  • Include spices, herbs, and other natural flavorings in your diet. Spices, fresh herbs, fruit juices, and zest from citrus fruit can always help jazz up your meals with increasing your sodium intake.
  • In addition, you should be very careful when using salt substitute. Most of these light salts contain table salt and other compounds, but you will end up making things worse if you start using too much of these light salts to achieve that salty taste.
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