If You Love to Indulge in Salty Snacks, This News Will Make Your Day

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For years, we've been told not to overdo it on the salt. From salty sides like French fries to chips, to processed foods that can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack — salt is ever the enemy when eaten in excess.

But two recently published studies in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that experts have long miscalculated salt's effects on our body and overlooking potential benefits that include burning body fat.

In the study, researchers provided salty meals to 10 male Russian astronauts on two separate space missions. Over time, their meals became gradually saltier. While it's known that salt makes you naturally thirsty, the astronauts did not increase their intake of water, but discovered that the saltiest meals caused more urination.

In a similar experiment involving mice, the researchers finally realized why their human subjects reacted the way they did by producing more urine. When the mice added more salt to their diets, they began to release a hormone called, "glucocorticoid," known to affect metabolism and immunity.

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Scientists believe this hormone not only caused the mice to break down fat and muscle to draw water from these tissues, but it also helped to flush out excess sodium — which explains the increase in urine productivity in both mice and men served with saltier meals.

The study goes on to disclose that because the process requires quite a bit of energy, which heightens appetite and amps up your food intake, it can lead to potential weight gain.

While salt can burn fat, it does not strike out the decades' worth of warnings regarding an excessive sodium intake. In fact, too much glucocorticoid production can be linked to osteoporosis, muscle loss, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic problems.

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As a fair warning, don't go to town with your salt shaker. The CDC reports Americans should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams or 1 teaspoon of salt per day. And while more research is necessary to understand its effects on our body when it comes to weight loss, at least you can be satisfied in knowing that extra pinch of salt to your fries or margarita will be worth it.

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