Salt Vs Sugar: Which Is More Harmful For Your Body?

Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, once said, “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.”

Anything in excess can be bad for you. But, when it comes to sugar or salt, most of you are pretty helpless. Your body needs sugar and salt, in equal measure, for several reasons.

What Does Salt Do To Your Body?

Harmful effects of excess salt consumption

In a healthy person, a moderate amount of salt can be easily processed by their body. In fact, sodium, an essential nutrient found in salt, must be obtained from food as it’s necessary for optimal health, overall well-being, and fitness. There are 4 main sources that are responsible for your overall sodium intake.

  • Pre-packaged, processed, and restaurant foods: 75%
  • Natural sources: 12%
  • Table additions: 6%
  • Home cooking: 5%

To put things into perspective, current dietary guidelines recommend that you eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium every day, which roughly equates to a teaspoon of salt. However,

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you may end up consuming an average of 3,400 milligrams (about 1.7 teaspoons) of sodium.1

Although the difference is only a third of a teaspoon, the main concern with excess sodium consumption is that it makes your body retain water. This enhances the volume of your blood and makes your heart work more for proper circulation, thereby increasing the pressure on your arteries. This way, you’re prone to develop elevated blood pressure levels or hypertension.

Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to major health issues, including heart attack, cirrhosis, stroke, kidney issues, and vision problems.2 In such a situation, you can start reducing the salt content in your food. However, this doesn’t have a large impact on your sodium intake. Monitoring individual food intake levels like calorie counting for sodium isn’t going to be a very effective strategy either.

The best step forward to reduce salt intake is to limit your consumption of

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processed food, restaurant food, and pre-packaged food. There’s no surprise why this is one of the most effective ways to lose or maintain weight.

What Does Sugar Do To Your Body?

Harmful effects of excess sugar consumption

While excess sodium intake has a direct consequence on your blood pressure levels, excess sugar consumption doesn’t have such a singular focus. Besides the extremes of weight gain and diabetes, there are a number of other negative effects of consuming excess sugar. Truth is that naturally occurring sugars aren’t as much of a problem as refined and added sugars.

All sugars, regardless of what they’re labeled as, can have a similar effect in the sense that they cause your blood sugar levels to increase quite significantly. Consequently, your body produces more insulin, resulting in weight gain or inflammation.

Weight Gain

Insulin is your body’s primary regulator of fat metabolism. When your insulin levels go up, you tend to store more fat and when insulin levels drop, you use

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up the stored fat as fuel.

Eating too much sugar over time can promote fat storage and increased body fat can make you insulin-resistant. As a result, your body begins to produce more insulin, which in turn leads to more fat storage. Furthermore, triglyceride levels, the blood levels of fat, can rise considerably, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.3

Another lesser known fact about excess sugar consumption is that it can interact with your body to influence sodium levels. As your body begins to produce more insulin, it causes your kidneys to retain sodium. This can lead to a pathological imbalance in sodium levels and elevate your blood pressure.

Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response to any kind of internal damage and sugar contributes to it. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to chronic inflammation, thereby, putting you at the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and dementia.4

What’s Worse For Your Body?

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For ages, you’ve been told that salt is bad and sugar is good. While neither of these items is particularly dangerous as long as consumed in moderation, an excess amount of sugar when compared to salt can have a more negative impact on your overall health. Simply because salt is essential for your body to function properly while sugar isn’t. Also, sugar can enhance the negative effects of salt, which makes consuming salt the lesser of the two evils.

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