## Is a “Salt Tooth” a Real Thing?
We’ve all heard of a sweet tooth, but what about a “salt tooth”? While we know the negative effects of consuming too much sugar, the downsides of excessive salt intake, such as high blood pressure and water retention, are also well-documented. However, despite this knowledge, many of us still consume more salt than we should. In fact, according to a YouGov poll, 40% of people would choose crisps over chocolate as a treat, despite the fact that salt is not considered a dietary luxury.
### The Difference Between a Sweet Tooth and a Salt Tooth
A sweet tooth creates an appetite for itself at the hormone level, making you want more sugar. In contrast, salt doesn’t have the same impact on blood glucose levels. However, salt does make your palate acclimatise, so the more you eat, the more you need to get the same salty hit. This is why chefs can get heavy-handed with it.
### The Role of Salt in Food Manufacturing
Salt is incredibly useful in food manufacturing for palatability and preservation. As a result, it’s not surprising to find high levels of salt in most processed foods. This creates a feedback loop between manufacturers and chains, where the more salt is added, the more we crave it.
### The Connection Between Salt Intake and Obesity
Our desire for salt can be genetically driven, and the same genes that lead to a higher intake of salty food and salt sensitivity have been linked with obesity. Additionally, salt is often found in processed and high-fat foods, which are craved by individuals with genetic makeups that increase their risk of weight gain.
### How to Curb Salt Cravings
When a salt craving hits, avoid going straight for salty snack foods such as crisps. Instead, ensure you are well hydrated and seek out whole foods, such as olives and leafy greens, which are rich in polyphenols, magnesium, and calcium. These foods will help alleviate salt cravings, which may often be due to a desire for nutrient-rich food.
In conclusion, while a “salt tooth” may not be a real thing in the same way a sweet tooth is, our bodies can still crave salt. By understanding the role of salt in food manufacturing and the connection between salt intake and obesity, we can make more informed choices about our diets and work to curb our salt cravings.