People have believed for years that eating salt makes you gain weight. The working theory behind this was that eating salt made you retain water and made you thirsty, which made you heavier. But a study by Vanderbilt University researchers turns that theory on its head. Salt consumption, it seems, does neither. 
It could even help you…lose weight?
The whole thing came about when German researcher Dr. Jens Titze conducted tests on Russian cosmonauts on the Mir space station. He noticed that in spite of consuming more salt on certain days, the space explorers drank less water. And despite drinking less water on certain days, the cosmonauts still urinated similar amounts.
Specifically, when the cosmonauts ate more sodium, they excreted more sodium. Yet, somehow, the amount of sodium in their blood did not change, and their urine volume increased. 
That could only mean that water was being produced without drinking. The cosmonauts were breaking down fat to produce fluids. 
“There was only one way to explain this phenomenon. The body had most likely generated or produced water when salt intake was high.” 
Further research revealed that mice ate 25% more just to maintain their body weight when they ate more salt. 
A starving body will burn its own fat to survive, and scientists know this. But it was shocking to find that something similar happens on a salty diet. 
Titze doesn’t recommend gorging on salty foods to lose weight. One of the other odd things he and his team noticed was that when the cosmonauts ate a salty diet, their thirst didn’t increase, but their hunger did. This fact is not surprising, considering that MSG – a concentrated form of salt added to many fast-food and pre-packed food items – makes you crave sugar and interferes with hormones that let you know when you feel full.
In other words, very salty foods make you want to keep eating and eating, but you never quite feel satisfied.
But avoiding salt for fear that it will make you fat appears to be misguided, the findings suggest. If you’re a healthy individual who avoids salt to avoid gaining weight, it may be having the opposite effect.
The Skinny on Salt
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that individuals consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and some groups of people should consume no more than 1,500 mg. High sodium consumption has been linked to high blood pressure and strokes in the past. But is what we know about the health risks associated with eating too much salt becoming what we thought we knew?
In April 2017, a study by researchers at Boston University showed that high-salt diets don’t cause high blood pressure. In fact, participants who ate more than the recommended daily amount had better blood pressure than those who abstained from eating sodium. 
Study author Dr. Lynn Moore, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said of the findings:
“We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure. Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided.” 
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