Truth About Salt: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Health

Salt, once known as “white gold,” was used to pay for work and was sold for more than beef. Today, cooking salt is cheap and readily available in any store, yet many people are avoiding it like the plague. Why do some doctors advise using salt as little as possible, while others perceive “under-salt” as a death wish? In this article, we will explore the controversial topic of salt consumption, its benefits and risks, and how to consume it in moderation.

The Importance of Salt in Our Diet

From a basic chemistry course, we know that table salt consists of two atoms: an atom of the gas chlorine and metal sodium. This unstable combination is incredibly strong and easily assimilated by humans.

The human body contains approximately 250 grams of salt, which can fill 3-4 standard salt shakers. Salt is present in all body fluids, including lymph and intercellular fluid, gastric juice, sweat, and tears. Therefore, the idea that “life is impossible without salt” is an indisputable fact. Our ancestors’ experience shows that we can die without salt.

The human body cannot synthesize salt, so we must obtain it from our food. Salt plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, such as maintaining proper fluid balance, transmitting nerve impulses, and helping our muscles contract and relax.

However, excessive salt consumption can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day, but many people consume far more than that due to the hidden salt in processed foods and restaurant meals.

In the following parts of this article, we will explore where salt is hiding in our food and how to reduce our intake for a healthier life.

The Deadly Temptation: How Much Salt Do We Need for Our Health?

Did you know that the majority of salt produced in the world is not used for food? According to statistics, only 6% of “white gold” is consumed, while the rest is used for industrial purposes. More than 17% of the world’s salt production is used for de-icing roads during winter months. And that’s just for one year!

But what interests us most is the salt we consume in our food. What can it do for our body? The recommended daily salt intake for human growth, normal development, and functioning is approximately one teaspoon per day. If we use exact figures, that’s 2300 mg as stated by the World Health Organization.

It may seem like a small amount, and we can easily consume that much without any harm. However, the truth is we consume much more than we need, and you would be surprised by how much.

Calculating your actual salt intake is only possible if you consume only homemade food that you prepare yourself. Most of the food products we love are overloaded with salt, and we are not even aware of it!


Recent studies by American scientists have shown that the average American exceeds the maximum recommended salt intake by six times! People have learned to derive pleasure from food that is not just salty, but excessively salty.

And did you know that one form of ritual suicide among the aristocracy in ancient China was consuming a massive amount of salt? All it took was consuming 1 gram of the white additive per kilogram of body weight, and the result was deadly.

Strategies for Reducing Salt Intake

However, reducing salt content in products is not only the responsibility of food manufacturers. It is also up to the consumer to make more informed choices about what they eat. When grocery shopping, it is important to pay attention to the nutrition labels on products and choose those with lower salt content. Cooking at home is also a great way to control salt intake, as home-cooked meals tend to have less salt than processed foods. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the sneaky ways that salt can hide in food. For example, canned and packaged foods often contain high amounts of salt as a preservative, while condiments like ketchup and soy sauce can be loaded with salt. Even seemingly healthy foods like salads can contain high levels of salt in their dressings. In conclusion, salt is an essential part of our diet, but like anything else, it should be consumed in moderation. By being mindful of salt content and making healthier choices, we can reduce our risk of health problems associated with excessive salt intake.

Read more about the importance of labeling

If you think that giving up excess salt is impossible, you are mistaken. The key is to get creative. In 2010, Taco Bell, an international fast-food chain, secretly reduced the salt content of their 150 locations by as much as 23%. The specified ratio of salt was replaced with spices and seasonings. Two months later, the results of the experiment were summarized. It turned out that restaurant patrons didn’t even notice the difference!

pink himalayan salt

Reducing Your Salt Intake: Tips and Tricks

While salt is an important ingredient in our diets, excessive consumption can have negative health effects. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your food without going overboard on salt:

  • Choose fresh foods, such as meat, poultry, and fish, which are not typically seasoned with salt by the manufacturer.
  • Look for pre-made meals marked as “unsalted” and check the label for salt content in other products like baby cottage cheese or butter.
  • Buy unprocessed nuts, sunflower seeds, and other snacks, and make your own chips and popcorn to control the amount of salt.
  • Add salt to your food while cooking, not on each plate, which studies show can result in less salt intake overall.
  • Train yourself to avoid adding extra salt to your meals, whether at home or dining out.
  • Consider healthier salt options like natural sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or French salt.
  • Experiment with spices, herbs, and seasonings to add flavor and variety to your meals.
Truth About Salt: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Health

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