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Increased Salt Intake Could Raise Risk Of Obesity By 25 Percent

People who consume more salt with the food they eat have been found to be more likely to suffer from obesity, according to a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom.

Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), led by Professor Graham MacGreggor, discovered that adding even just one more gram of salt to a person's daily intake could already increase the risk of developing obesity by as much as 25 percent.

While earlier studies suggested that salt is associated with high blood pressure and a contributor to the development of heart disease, the QMUL research is the first one to establish a potential link between the substance and weight gain.

MacGreggor said that they have yet to determine the reason why salt had a significant impact on the weight of individuals.

In their study, featured in the journal Hypertension, MacGreggor and his colleagues examined data collected from 780 adults and 450 children as part of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey from 2008 to 2009 and 2011 to 2012.

They found that the intake of salt is a potential factor for obesity risk regardless of how many calories are consumed.

MacGreggor explained that the food that people typically eat is now the leading cause of poor health as they often contain high amounts of sugar, fat and salt included by the food industry.

He said that obesity and high blood pressure can lead to the development of various illnesses, such as stroke, heart attacks, heart failures and cardiovascular disease. These are some of the most common causes of disability and death in the United Kingdom.

MacGreggor added that obesity predisposes a person to type 2 diabetes. This contributes to the increase of risks to heart disease and other serious health complications.

He pointed out that if the increases in the number of diet related issues are not halted immediately, they will eventually cripple the NHS's efforts.

It is generally believed that salt impacts the metabolism rate of the body, potentially impeding its ability to absorb fat.

In the United Kingdom, the average person consumes approximately 8.1 grams of salt each day. This is considered to be well beyond the recommended daily amount of six grams set by the National Health Service (NHS).

Oxford Diet expert Susan Jebb, however, cautions the public regarding the findings of QMUL study.

Despite the importance of salt reduction, she said that study's findings did not provide conclusive evidence that lessening salt intake could help people lose weight.

Jebb asserted that people should not be misled into believing that reducing salt intake alone will help lessen their obesity risk or even help them lose their weight.

Photo: Kevin Dooley | Flickr 

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