Why do we crave salt?...and sugar...

Why do you crave salt?

In this article you will learn

🧂 Why humans crave salt
The difference between sugar and salt cravings
👤 Why you should listen to your body

So, why do you crave salt?

What does 100 million years of evolution have to with craving salt? 

The human body has had a loooong time to figure out salt. In most cases, craving salt means you may need more salt in your diet. Your body controls the intake of salt through a biological system known as your "salt thermostat", where not enough will cause cravings. This system was formed millions of years ago and, shocker, it is to stop you from dying from salt loss. Today, the system is still in operation, only now, it's not just salt being consumed, there is usually a whole bunch of packaged, processed food that comes along with it, which the human body hasn't had that long to figure out...

So, are salt cravings as bad as sugar cravings? 

Whilst there are rare circumstances that craving salt could be caused by underlying health complications caused by other factors, generally, salt is considered an essential nutrient, needed for survival, where salty cravings simply mean you're running low. Sugar cravings on the other hand can form over a period of weeks, simply from diet and lifestyle choices, as your body becomes dependent on getting its sugar fix.

What causes salt depletion?

The optimal range of sodium will vary from person to person. Due to ever changing modern health and lifestyle habits, you may be losing more sodium than you think throughout your day.

The overconsumption of sugar, medication, caffeine, exercise and some dietary approaches can have negative effects on your blood sodium levels. Replenishment becomes extremely important to tackle salt depleting activities head on throughout the day.

Wait... My morning coffee is depleting my salt?

Potentially! Coffee and tea are both natural diuretics, increasing water and salt loss from our kidneys. The second and third most consumed beverages in the world respectively, are causing salt excretion from the body and usually not being accounted for in the standard dietary guidelines for consuming salt.

What about my daily exercise?

As people around the world turn to hobby fitness activities for their daily activity, more than ever must we look after our electrolyte intake and hydration. Whether you are an elite athlete or weekend cyclist, electrolyte intake is still vital to performance and feeling good. Even the consumption of lots of water, whilst important, without the replacement of electrolytes could be diluting you of electrolytes in your blood. Thermoregulation is the body's ability to sweat, helping the body maintain optimal temperature throughout hot weather, exercise and physical activity. Sodium is a key driver in the body's ability to sweat and cool itself. 

Don't forget

about your

sodium levels

Soooo, should I be eating salt?

Absolutely, if you are one of the majority of people who are not salt sensitive, your body has the ability to easily clear excess sodium using the mechanisms responsible for maintaining healthy electrolyte levels in the body. Contrarily, with little mechanisms built in to handle the massive amounts seen in modern diets today, sugar wreaks havoc on your body by diluting salt levels in your blood, causing dehydration, hypertension, insulin resistance and much more.