Latest Research: Another good reason to skip the salt shaker

We all know that eating too much salt isn’t good for our blood pressure and heart health but a new study has found that a high salt intake might also contribute to weight gain.

Previous studies have found a relationship between salt intake and obesity, but the reasons for this have been unclear.  In this study, Chinese researchers recruited thirty-eight male and female subjects of normal weight from a rural community in Northern China and looked at the impact of salt intake on blood levels of ghrelin. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone”, and is released when our stomach is empty, stimulating our appetite.

The subjects followed a normal salt diet for 3-days, followed by a low salt diet (3g) for 7 days and then a high salt diet (18g) for another 7 days.   The researchers measured their ghrelin levels during each stage of the study.  They found that the high salt diet significantly increased ghrelin levels, while there was a small decrease on the lower salt diet.

While more research is needed to confirm these findings, the researchers suggest that the impact of salt on ghrelin levels may explain the link between salt intake and obesity.

Zhang, Y., Li, F., Liu, F., Chu, C., Wang, Y., Wang, D., Guo, T., Wang, J., Guan, G., Ren, K. and Mu, J. (2016). Elevation of Fasting Ghrelin in Healthy Human Subjects Consuming a High-Salt Diet: A Novel Mechanism of Obesity?. Nutrients, 8(6), p.323.

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