Can Salt or Sugar Cause Weight Gain?

Salt may not cause your body to gain or lose fat. And, more importantly, salt has no calories. High consumption of salt causes temporary weight gain because it causes your body to retain water. And, consumption of lower amounts of salt results in temporary weight loss because it causes your body to expel water.

Most importantly salt causes weight gain because high levels of salt in our diets generally come from calorie dense, low fiber, processed foods like fast food and restaurant meals. If you stick to a low salt diet, it consists of lower calorie, healthier foods associated with weight loss.

Does Sugar Cause Weight Gain?

When we eat, our body converts digestible carbohydrates into sugar, which is the main source of energy. Our blood sugar level affects our hunger and energy levels. It also determines whether we burn fat or store it, and gain weight or lose weight.

Tips to Control Your Weight by Controlling Salt and Sugar Levels

  • Keep track of the amount of sugar you consume in beverages, especially coffee and soda pop. It can increase your sugar levels quickly, and most drinks aren’t filling.
  • Be careful about taking fat-free products. Generally sugar is used in them to replace the flavor that is lost when fat is removed.
  • Table sugar is considered to provide ‘no calories’ because it has no nutritional value other than providing just a fuel for energy. Honey and other more natural sugars are healthier because they provide vitamins and minerals.
  • You have to regulate your blood sugar level to maintain your fat-burning capacity. Never skip a meal, especially breakfast, and eat healthy snacks between meals. Eating frequently helps prevent hunger pangs, provides consistent energy, and maintains metabolism efficiency.
  • High fiber snacks and meals help to regulate your blood sugar level. The fiber slows down glucose absorption and your rate of digestion. This way it keeps your blood sugar level more consistent and wards off feelings of hunger.
  • Reduce having refined white flour, heavily processed or high sugar foods. Examples of such foods include: fluffy white breads, bread snacks, regular sodas, most regular breakfast cereal, sweets, candy, cookies and cakes.
  • Increase your intake of high-fiber foods and whole grains. Good food choices are vegetables, beans and fruit, and whole grain cereals such as oats, rye, basmati or brown rice, and pasta.
  • Avoid processed or refined foods like canned soup, breakfast cereal, soy sauce, candy, sweets, cakes, cookies, ice cream and regular soda. These foods can aggravate cravings. At the same time, do not add extra sugar or salt to the food on your plate.
  • Daily sugar consumption should not exceed 40g of refined sugar per 2000 calories consumed.
  • Salt is normally hidden in fast foods, prepackaged frozen food products, beverages, candy bars, canned vegetables and soups – virtually hundreds of food items. Try to cut back on convenience foods, rinse canned vegetables, reduce salt used in cooking, purchase a cookbook on using herbs to season food, and order ‘fresh’ food when dining out.

What research has to say on salt intake and obesity?

  • According to a research study carried out in the University of Helsinki, Finland, researchers found that salt intake increased by more than 50 percent in the United States during 15 years from mid-1980s to the late 1990s.
  • Low intake of salt caused increase in thirst and this resulted in increase of the intake of beverages.
  • The researchers attributed a rise in the calories in the American people during this period to this particular reason.
  • Between 1977 and 2001, sweetened beverages increased the energy intake on the average by 135 percent in this country.
  • Milk intake during this same period decreased by 38 percent.
  • As a result of these undesirable developments, the net energy intake per day ay of every American reached 278 kcal.
  • According to the American Heart Association, an American has to walk 1 hour 10 minutes more than it was the case in 1977.
  • It is only then that these additional 278 kcal per day will not pose any threat of obesity.