Scientists previously thought salt made us drink more liquids, but now it appears to be the exact opposite.
You would think that munching down on sushi drenched in soy sauce, cheesy chips, French fries and smoked bacon would make you kind of thirsty. And perhaps it would.
But research has shown that eating salty foods actually makes you feel more hungry than it does force you to reach for another refreshing glass of water.
Researchers have found that when you eat salty foods, your body retains more water.
Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Vanderbilt University conducted the study on a simulated mission to Mars.
Two groups of 10 male volunteers were happily sealed into a mock spaceship. The first group was examined for 105 days, and the second for a longer 205 days.
Both groups ate an identical diet with the exception that, over a period of several weeks, the groups were given 3 different amounts of salt in their food.
What happened? Some surprises. The more salt the participants ate, the more pee they produced. But it wasn’t because they were drinking more liquids.
In fact, a salty diet caused them to drink less. The increase in salt was actually triggering a process in their bodies that had the kidneys conserving water.
And the more salt the pretend-cosmonauts consumed, the more they complained about feeling hungry. Why? Scientists think it has to do with something called urea. It accumulates in your kidneys, when you eat salty foods.
Too much urea is a problem, though. It stops your body from preserving water.
Consequently, when there’s an abundance of urea inside, your body acts to get rid of it. And then you need to produce some more. The thing is, creating urea takes a lot of energy, and it makes you feel hungry, as you need to gain fuel to make it.
So, chips. Does the whole story matter if you’re not going to Mars?
We can’t all be cosmonauts. If you’re trying to lose weight however, there’s now another reason to cut back on salt. It just might reduce those cravings.