Ten myths about salt that you should stop believing

Ten myths about salt that you should stop believing

Salt, which is a compound of chloride (60%) and sodium (40%), we do not need only to accentuate the taste of food, but it is essential for the proper functioning of our body.And despite that During the last decades it has been considered one of the black beasts of nutrition, which almost had to be banished from our kitchens, due to its negative effects on health, among which are hypertension and its consequences on the cardiac system.

Scientists are still investigating, but they have discovered that the relationship is not as direct as was believed and that it depends on many other factors, such as the ability of the kidney to excrete or preserve sodium as a regulator of blood pressure. In terms of health, this is the component that most worries experts . But both sodium and chloride are the most abundant electrolytes in the human body and their electrically charged atoms act on the nervous system and muscles and regulate both the volume and blood pressure.

The problem is, as almost always in nutrition, in excesses

Sodium also contributes to the absorption of vitamin C and leads it to the brain and bones, while chloride produces hydrochloric acid, which contributes to the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The problem is, as almost always in nutrition, in excesses. So the most appropriate to stay healthy is to take a moderate amount , which does not exceed 3.75 grams per day, or 1,500 milligrams of sodium recommended by the authorities. And in no case exceed 6 gr and 2,300 mg.

Although it is estimated that the average of what is actually taken is about 8.9 gr, the majority, more than 60%, from processed foods. Many foods have salt naturally and others are added when prepared at home, but what really makes the consumption of this seasoning a possible problem is what is taken without knowing how much. Among other things because we are not aware of the amount of food that contains it, either to add flavor, to hide others or for its preservative power.


When someone, with or without a motive, decides to start a low-salt diet or without it, they should cut off the consumption of processed foods, because, as we have already said, they are the ones that provide the most sodium to the body. That forces you to eat homemade dishes and larger amounts of fruits, vegetables and legumes . Exercising and eating in moderation decreases the chances of getting ailments related to sodium chloride.

1-Salt increases blood pressure

The connection between sodium and the increase in blood pressure was established in 1904. But it was not tested until 1940 , when scientist Walter Kemper showed that a diet of rice cooked with little salt lowered blood pressure in those who had it high.

This universal truth is now in question. And although many studies show that the reduction in salt intake lowers blood pressure, it seems that the effect is seen in hypertensive, obese, elderly people, but it does not increase in those who have normal. What also denies in principle the idea that salt “makes you fat.”

Salt is not the only thing that causes the pressure to rise, nor does everyone respond equally to sodium

In short, salt is not the only thing that causes the pressure to increase , nor does everyone respond equally to sodium. Those affected by diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney ailments, among others, tend to be more sensitive to diseases related to salt intake.

2-Better a diet without salt

Not only is it false, but it can be very harmful . The body uses it to balance body fluids and maintain an adequate level in blood pressure, which is essential for the proper functioning of the muscles and nervous system.

There are studies that state that those who take less than 3 grams per day can suffer alterations in their state of health as serious as those that exceed 7 grams, including heart-related diseases.

Low sodium levels can cause an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream and also produce a hormonal imbalance. Endocrine function, which maintains salt in the body, is activated when sodium levels decrease, which can lead to increased mortality . Chloride deficit can cause a condition known as respiratory acidosis that increases the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, which becomes more acidic.

3-Salt makes you fat.

In fact not, because it is a food that does not provide calories and therefore does not have a direct effect on weight gain. A group of Russian cosmonauts, who were studied while staying isolated in a simulation of a space travel, were less thirsty the more salt they took and instead increased their feeling of hunger.

It is a food that does not provide calories and therefore does not have a direct effect on weight gain

Something similar was deduced from an experiment with mice, which burned more calories if salt intake was increased and to maintain their weight they had to be fed 25% more food . These investigations, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation , largely contradict the conventional belief of how the body administers salt and suggests that in greater amounts it contributes to weight loss.

4-Causes fluid retention

Not necessarily or worldwide. It is a metabolism disorder , also known as edema , which causes fluid to accumulate in different parts of the body. It is true that sodium can contribute to this, but in people prone to it, such as obese, pregnant or menopause. Drinking little water, not eating too much protein, having kidney problems, leading a sedentary life, are other causes that can contribute to retention Drinking less salt, more water and exercising can alleviate the symptoms.

5-It is a problem of elders.

False. Excess consumption can also affect children and young people , so you should moderate the seasoning in the daily diet. Salt helps enhance the taste of food, because it seems to come into contact with the taste buds generates an electrical impulse to the brain that allows you to perceive the flavors.

It seems that, contrary to what many people believe, the taste for salty flavors is not genetic, but learned . So you can decrease the amount that is added to meals and go training on the palate to appreciate the taste of things with less salt. Other tricks to not drink so much sodium is to check the labels on the amount of packaged foods and opt for “low salt.” It is also recommended to replace it in part by flavoring with herbs and spices. And, very important, do not bring the salt shaker to the table. There are studies that state that if salt is poured directly into the already served dish, more quantity is used than when it is added when cooking.

6-Sea salt, rose, Himalayan, salt flower or Maldon do not harm

It depends. It is believed that these salts, so fashionable in today’s gastronomy, have more beneficial properties, such as certain minerals and trace elements. In many cases it is true, but in such minimal amounts that the effects are imperceptible. On the other hand there is a risk of consuming more than recommended for its supposed benefits, when after all it has as much sodium chloride as the others.

It is believed that these salts, so fashionable in today’s gastronomy, have more beneficial properties, such as certain minerals and trace elements

Yes it is true that common table salt contains some additives to keep it loose , for example, while “natural” does not.

7-If a food is not salty, it does not have salt

It is not quite true, there are many who have it in considerable quantities and it does not show in the taste. It occurs with the packages in which it is camouflaged with other ingredients. It is usually even in sweet foods, but it is not noticeable because the sugar disguises the salty taste and seems to contain less salt than they actually have.

8-Salt should be taken after exercising

It is true that sodium chloride is expelled from the body through urine and sweat and therefore it can be thought that after doing an intense physical exercise the loss in the process must be replaced. But it’s not like that. Water and a diet rich in minerals and other nutrients are enough to replenish lost salts. If you do an intense exercise for an hour and a half or more, it is advisable to use an energy drink.

9-Fizzy drinks have sodium

Years ago it was so, because the effervescence was produced by sodium bicarbonate , but currently, carbonated drinks are made with carbon dioxide. The same may apply to effervescent medications.

10-Light products have no salt

Error. Even sometimes more than in no light . And that’s because because they carry less sugar, they need some preservative to replace it, and sodium is one of them.


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