Do Salty Diets Trigger Hunger?


You may find salt makes you thirsty, but over the long run excess salt could cause your body to conserve water, so you actually drink less, according to two new studies in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The underlying processes may make you hungry and raise disease risk.

In the first study, small groups of healthy men were fed different amounts of salt (while keeping all other nutrient levels the same) during two separate 105- and 205-day simulated space missions. When given a relatively large daily amount of salt, 12 grams (4,800 milligrams sodium), the men drank less water than when given approximately the currently recommended limit, 6 grams salt (2,400 milligrams sodium). But, they complained of being hungry on the high-salt diet.

The scientists followed up with a mouse study. When mice were fed more salt, it triggered a mechanism in their body to conserve water in the kidneys. But, that’s not easy on the body. “The process takes a lot of energy, triggering increased appetite, which could lead to overeating in the long run,” says Jens Titze, MD, at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, and the senior author of both studies. “The process also raises levels of glucocorticoids, which can increase risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.” So, these studies support potential harms of high salt intake beyond raising blood pressure. However, as intriguing as the findings are, they need to be replicated.

To learn more: The Journal of Clinical Investigation, May 2017

To learn more: The Journal of Clinical Investigation, May 2017


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