Salt 102: The Why, The How & The Controversy

To follow up with my Salt 101 Blog, below is some additional & highly interesting information about salt.




Why Salt increases thirst…

In the most basic terms: as salt circulates through your blood stream it makes the fluid inside our body salty.

This acts like a magnet & pulls water out of the cells.  When the water is taken – the cells protest & send out a chemical signal to the brain protesting the saltiness & lack of fluid.

Once the brain receives these signals from all over the body – it recognises that the body is too salty & needs to be diluted – therefore it sends out a thirst signal encouraging you to drink more water to help balance out the saltiness & replenish the fluid in the cells.
How Salt affects blood pressure…

Salt affects a number of systems in the body including the kidneys, the arteries, the heart & the brain.  Below is a breakdown of how salt affects each area of the body & the blood pressure.


  • The Kidneys:

Eating high levels of salt can affect the chemical balance of the bloodstream, in turn, the kidneys have a more difficult time removing water.


Therefore – the blood pressure is increased due to the additional strain the kidneys are under as they attempt to remove extra fluids.


Also – if this additional strain causes damage to the kidneys over time – the kidneys can then be affected by ‘kidney disease’.



  • The Arteries:

The chemical imbalance & additional water intake affect the blood stream which causes additional strain on the arteries.  In order to cope with this strain the arteries tighten & thicken their walls – however, with the passageways even more narrow – this only serves to increase the blood pressure even more.



  • The Heart:

If the arteries become damaged in the scenario above then the heart can be in danger of receiving too little blood – meaning too little oxygen & too little nutrients as well.


These problems can lead to a myriad of issues including angina, burst  or clogged arteries or even a heart attack.



Interesting Salt Fact:

  • A third of a persons salt intake can come from bread.


  • Britain is said to have the lowest salt intake of any developed country in the world.


  • Researchers in the Netherlands have patented a new way to enhance flavour while using 25% fewer salt crystals.


  • Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. This eventually lead to the word ‘salary’.


  • Salt removes red wine stains.


  • Every cell in the body contains salt – therefore an adult contains about a moderate sized box of salt in their body at one time.



“Neither sugar nor salt tastes particularly good by itself. Each is at its best when used to season other things. Love is the same way.  Use it to “season” people.” 

― Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration



Salt Controversy…

We have continued to hear warnings against the risks of salt for years however researchers are confused by limited evidence of the harmful effects of salt.

In fact – new research suggests that too little salt is just as dangerous as too much! As always balance is key.

In an article in the New York Times by Gary Taubes entitled, “Salt, We Misjudged You” Taub refers to a number of salt studies that were labelled “inconsistent & contradictory”.

Taubes also refers to the 20+ years of warnings about salt to be more of a “biological plausibility”; meaning that claims were often assumed without imperial evidence.

The current daily salt intake recommendations are 6 grams – or 1 teaspoon of salt a day for adults.

However, according to, a paper published in the American Journal of Hypertension warned that once daily consumption falls below 6.25 grams, this is when the body is at risk for stroke & heart attack from too little salt!  This study recommends a minimum of 6.25 g & a maximum of 15 g daily.

A growing number of studies continue to address this salt controversy.  It will be interesting to see what new developments arise over the next few years!

For now only ingest high quality sea salt.

The optimal intake for you would need to be determined over time with your health care professional – blood pressure, energy levels, thirst, recovery time, occurrence of cramp, vitamin & mineral levels within the blood, body composition are among a few factors to consider when optimalising your intake.



More On Salt…

If you are a fan of The ShapeTrainer & this blog you are clearly a fan of health, fitness, exercise, permanent fat-loss & pushing your body & brain to be the best they can be.

Therefore, as a growing or habitual exerciser it is important to intake enough salt to counter-balance the sweat lost from exercise as well as to balance the effects of a high-protein diet.  Click Here to read Salt 101 to learn more about this.



The Bottom Line…

The bottom line is that while recommendations are a great guideline – your routine may (& with high exercise & high protein regimes) diminish your salt intake a bit more than the average person.

Everyone is different & it is important to check with your health professional to determine your exact needs, bearing in mind the current recommended dosage is around 6 grams per day.



To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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