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Salt Doesn’t Make You Thirsty, It Actually Makes You Hungry


We’ve all heard that salt makes us thirsty. And who hasn’t guzzled a big glass of water or iced tea after a salty meal? But in the long-term, scientists find it may do just the opposite.

In a fascinating new study, scientists monitored salt intake among two groups of men who took part in simulated missions to Mars. These “cosmonauts” – 10 in each group – were sealed into mock spaceships for either 105 or 205 days.

During their time onboard, the men were exposed to three separate levels of salt (5, 9 or 12 grams daily) in their food. All other nutrients remained constant.

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In the short term, the results weren’t surprising. Higher salt intake increased thirst. It also increased the amount of salt in the urine. But the research team was in for some big surprises when they took a look at the longer term results.

Surprise! Salt makes you hungry. Over the long term…

Salt Decreased Thirst

Rather than increasing thirst, higher salt intake actually caused the volunteers to drink less, not more.

Salt Boosted Hunger

The men receiving the salty diet complained about being hungry.

Salt Increased Water Retention

Higher salt consumption triggered the men’s bodies to conserve water. Salt stayed in the urine, while water moved back into the kidneys.

Until now, it was believed that salt grabbed onto water molecules and pulled them into the urine, thus increasing thirst.

However, the study authors found that instead, salt triggers the accumulation of urea in the kidneys. The production of this compound eats up a lot of energy while, at the same time, drawing water back into the kidneys.

These findings may explain why higher salt diets cause hunger rather than thirst – and why it’s so hard to eat just one potato chip!


Mission Control for the body’s salt and water supplies. News Article. Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. Apr 2017.

Rakova N, et al. Increased salt consumption induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake. J Clin Invest. 2017 Apr 17. pii: 88530.

Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”

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