Salt lovers rejoice!
In a finding that seems to contradict all that we have been taught about a salt-rich diet, a University of Iowa study has found that salt can actually prevent weight gain particularly in those with a high-fat diet.
As reported in The Daily Mail, the researchers actually started out looking for the connection between salt and fat and its influence on ones appetite due to both compounds tasting so good. They believed that the salt and fat would “would act together to increase appetite and cause weight gain’.
What they found when testing a high fat, high salt diet on lab mice was that they gained much less weight than those on a high fat, low salt regime.
In a perfect summation, Assistant Professor (pharmacology) Justin Grobe from the University of Iowa states, ‘We found out that our ‘french fry’ hypothesis was perfectly wrong’. For chip lovers that means salt on your snack is actually a good thing!
‘The findings also suggest that public health efforts to continue lowering sodium intake may have unexpected and unintended consequences’.
In other words, simply reducing the salt component of your diet, whilst maintaining the high fat, high sugar components could actually lead to greater weight gain.
Interestingly, all the mice in the experiment were fed the same amount of calories and had the same resting metabolism and physical activity as each other. The salty diets in contrast, had a distinctive effect on the digestive efficiency and hence the amount of fat absorbed by the body.
As Grobe explains, ‘This suppression of weight gain with increased sodium was due entirely to a reduced efficiency of the digestive tract to extract calories from the food that was consumed’.
It’s another case of see-sawing dietary advice, but certainly one that challenges long held beliefs on intake of salt.
Obviously the research findings are not an open license to add copious quantities of sodium to your diet, but they are suggesting the balance of salt and sugar intake is more important than previously thought.
What do you think of the findings? Are you guilty of going without salt on your fries thinking it was better for you?