Salty diet reduces thirst, increases hunger

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Milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, chips and soda. Researchers of that study recommended between 2,645 and 4,945 milligrams of salt per day, as opposed to the American Heart Association's limit of 1,500 milligrams per day.

The data showed that eating high levels of salt caused people to urinate more frequently.

But knowledge is power, as they say, and now we know a little bit more about the effects of salt on our bodies.

But synthesising urea takes a lot of energy, which explains why mice on a high-salt diet were eating more.

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But the body's fluid production does not determine the amount of fluid it can consume as a liquid or in food, researchers add.

"Nature has apparently found a way to conserve water that would otherwise be carried away into the urine by salt".

The idea that salty foods lead to instant thirst was so deeply embedded in the collective mind that nobody ever chose to study the relation between salt intake and drinking habits.

The results came out of a study by the German Aerospace Center, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Vanderbilt and others conducting a simulated mission to Mars. The first group was observed for 105 days and the second group for over 205, and all participants stayed in mock spaceships. In the latest trial, two teams of male volunteers with identical diets were given different amounts of salt. A new study, however, suggests that this is nothing but a myth, as salty diets can actually make people hungrier.

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In fact, those who ate foods containing 6 grams to 12 grams of salt drank less, the study revealed. The human "cosmonauts" who had received a salty diet also complained about being hungry. Researchers said that salt triggers a mechanism in the kidneys to hold onto water and produce urea, which eats up energy and causes hunger, not thirst.

The reason for this lies with a substance called urea, which accumulates in the kidneys and binds itself to the water to counteract the water-drawing force of sodium and chloride, or salt.

The prevailing hypothesis had been that the charged sodium and chloride ions in salt grabbed onto water molecules and dragged them into the urine, researchers said.

According to the textbooks, the excretion of dietary salt inevitably leads to water loss into the urine and thereby reduces body water content. However, this study proved that salt was relieved through urination, while water moved back into the kidneys, and the rest of the body. It turns out that salty diets lead to increased hunger. This new, complicated, study does not change these conclusions, but does suggest that under certain (rather contrived in our view) circumstances there may be long term fluctuations in salt and water balance.

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