Myths about salt is bad, eating less salt helps you lose weight | Health
Salt is important for taste and it’s no secret that food without salt is tasteless and you can’t enjoy food without salt, but it’s also believed that salt is supposed to kill and we shouldn’t eat any of it. While it is true that excess of it can contribute to high blood pressure, fluid overload, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, it is underestimated that salt is one of the most important nutrients the body needs as it helps to balance the fluids in the body and a maintaining healthy blood pressure and essential for nerve and muscle function.
To help debunk some common myths about salt being bad, we’ve brought on board two nutritionists to help debunk salt myths and separate health fact from fiction. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Kavita Devgan, nutritionist at Tata Salt, helped answer:
Myth 1: We can eliminate all salt from our diet
Fact: A lack of salt in the body (which can also occur with sweating, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, especially in hot weather) can lead to fatigue, dehydration, low blood pressure, muscle cramps and muscle weakness. So never go very low in salt. If you have high blood pressure, reduce sodium intake. You can switch to low-sodium salt, which is formulated to contain 15% to 30% less sodium than refined iodized salt.
Myth 2: Salt is an unnecessary ingredient in the diet and can be left out
Fact: A little salt (sodium chloride) is essential in the diet as it runs our brain cells, regulates water balance in the body, maintains muscle function and is needed to transmit nerve impulses. According to the WHO, salt enriched with iodine helps reduce the risk of IDD (iodine deficiency disease).
Myth 3: A low-salt diet can help you lose weight
Fact: Excess salt can cause water retention in the body and lead to weight gain, but eliminating it can only help reduce water weight by causing rapid water loss from the body, and not lose fat weight.
dr Varsha Gorey, Clinical Nutrition Consultant at Apollo Hospitals in Navi Mumbai, added to the list:
Myth: Salt is bad and eating less salt helps you lose weight
Fact: Salt doesn’t really help with weight loss. Chemically, salt is sodium chloride (NaCl). It helps meet our body’s electrolyte needs. Maintaining sodium levels in an optimal range of 130 to 140 mEq/L is important to prevent hyponatremia (indicative of low blood sodium levels). However, requirements vary from person to person. Aside from that, salt also helps to meet the Recommended Daily Intake of Iodine (RDA) through iodized salt.
Salt is naturally hygroscopic and has the ability to retain water. When less salt is consumed, this ability to retain water is lost and weight loss may be felt, but that is false weight loss and the key to weight loss is losing fat, not water. So instead of limiting salt, cut back on processed and refined foods like Namkeens, baked goods, and junk foods, which are hidden sources of salt.