Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Salt Makes People Hungry Instead Of Thirsty

Salt Makes People Hungry Instead Of Thirsty

The traditional wisdom that eating salty foods like crisps or dry roasted peanuts makes you thirsty has been exposed as a myth. But what sounds like good nutritional advice turns out to be an old-wives' tale.

The study was carried out during a simulated mission to Mars by an global group of scientists. The men who ate 12 grams of salt per day in their diets drank less water and also felt hungrier than the men did who consumed less salt in their diets.

After looking over 13 published studies that included over 170,000 people, researchers found that a difference of five grams a day in salt intake is linked to a 23 per cent increase in the rate of stroke, and a 17 per cent increase in the rate of cardiovascular disease.

Their conclusions appear in two papers - "Increased salt consumption induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake" and "High salt intake reprioritises osmolyte and energy metabolism for body fluid conservation" - in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the study, the team checked salt's effect on the body during simulated missions to Mars.

"A long space voyage conserving every drop of water might be crucial", r "A connection between salt intake and drinking could affect your calculations - you wouldn't want an interplanetary traveller to die because he liked an occasional pinch of salt on his food". The fact is that a salty diet led to less quantities of liquid drank by the astronomers, and salt was triggering a mechanism for conserving water in their kidneys.

As MDC Insights reports, the findings come from a group of worldwide researchers looking at "cosmonauts" on simulated flights to Mars. That must happen whether a body is being sent to Mars or not. The researchers realized that if eating a diet high in salt made people feel thirsty, that would lead them to drink more water and produce more urine. As part of the studies, two groups of 10 men were sealed into a mock spaceship for two simulated flights to Mars. Instead, salt conserves water and helps with water production. The experiment showed that salt remained in the urine while water moved back to the kidneys and the rest of the body.

Further analysis using mouse models showed that urea accumulated in the kidney and counteracted the water-grabbing force of sodium and chloride. That protein is then converted into urea by the liver, allowing the body to better preserve water as the liver excretes the excess salt. They observed the first group for 105 days and the second for 205 days. The human participants in this latest study also said they were hungry after a salty diet.

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