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Salt is directly linked to excessive fat consumption

How much salt do you consume each day? This may be difficult to measure, as there are foods that we often don't even realize contain salt. The recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to consume a maximum of 5 grams of salt a day, or one teaspoonful. However, according to research, Brazilians eat an average of 10g a day. Those who eat snacks every day eat twice as much.

A study in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that adding salt increases the pleasantness of food and, consequently, passively promotes excessive fat consumption. Nutritionist Ketlyn Dalagnol says that fat and salt are an appetizing combination in food preparations. During the research, 48 healthy adults, 16 men and 32 women, aged between 18 and 54 and with a BMI (kg/m²) between 17.8 and 34.4, were tested for their sensitivity and palatability to fat and salt. The volunteers took part in four sessions at lunchtime and after a standardized breakfast.

The meals consisted of pasta (56%), with sauce (44%) and four types of sauce: 1 - low fat / low salt (0.02% fat and 0.06% sodium chloride - NaCl), 2 - low fat / high salt (0.5% NaCl), 3 - high fat / low salt (34% fat) 4 high fat / high salt. Food intake and subjective assessments of hunger and satiety were carried out.

The result revealed that salt increased food and energy intake by 11%, regardless of fat concentration. Adding salt to food, as well as increasing the taste, also increases food and energy intake, and consequently promotes excessive fat consumption. Nutritionist Ketlyn explained that salt increases calorie consumption by suppressing satiety, which is naturally caused by eating fats. When food has more salt, the tendency is to consume more fatty foods.

The researchers came to the following conclusion: salt promotes the excessive consumption of fat in the diet, suppressing the satiety promoted by fat. Taste sensitivity to fat was negatively associated with the intake of high-fat meals, but in the presence of salt the effect seems to be the opposite. The accumulation of salt in the body can lead to certain diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as the risk of overweight and obesity," warns Ketlyn.

However, sodium also has very important functions in the human body.

The nutritionist explains that sodium controls the body's water balance, contributes to nerve impulses in the brain, enables muscle contraction and helps regulate heart rhythm. According to her, the question is not whether or not we should eat salt, but whether we should consume the right amount. We must remember that a taste for salt is not inborn, it is acquired. Parents should therefore educate their children from a young age to eat only the necessary amount of salt for the body to function properly.

How can you tell if a product contains sodium?

Ketlyn explains that sodium can appear under other names, such as sodium benzolate, sodium saccharin and monosodium glutamate. Also pay attention to the labels of products that don't have a salty taste, such as sweeteners and ketchups, as they can contain high doses of the ingredient, suggests the nutritionist.

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