Salt leads to sugar: a chain reaction

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Eating salty junk food very likely causes a chain reaction leading to sugary drinks, a recent study published in Pediatrics reveals.

High-sodium snacks may be the caveat for your children consuming more sugary drinks, according to an Australian study looking at the association between dietary salt, fluid, and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and weight status in a nationally representative sample of Australian children aged 2 to 16 years.

The study found that the more salt kids ate each day, the more fluids they drank, with preference being given to sugary drinks.

4,300 participants aged 2 to 16 were interviewed about their diets over a 24 hour period. Overall, 62 per cent had at least one sugar-sweetened drink and happened to consume also an average of over 2,500 mg of sodium a day. Of this group, over 5 per cent were obese. Those who were not in the habit of taking sugary drinks had an average sodium intake less than 2,300 mg and showed an obesity rate of 3%.

So one kind of junk food can thus initiate a craving, or habit of consuming another.

The study concluded that consuming more than recommended amounts of salt could be associated with obesity risk. The study authors recommended that in addition to the known benefits of lowering blood pressure, “salt reduction strategies may be useful in childhood obesity prevention efforts.”

View the full text of the study on Pediatrics by clicking here.

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