Salt and Gaining Weight

People who eat more salt tend to weigh more. But maybe not for the reasons you think.

Eating a lot of salt can cause your body to retain more water, which can show up on the scale as extra pounds. But we’re not just talking about water weight here. High salt diets appear to be linked to higher body fat—in particular, the kind of fat that accumulates around your middle.

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What kinds of foods tend to be higher in salt? Snacks, chips, fast food, fried foods, processed foods, and restaurant meals. It might also surprise you to know that bread is one of the primary sources of sodium in the Western diet.

All of these high-sodium foods are also relatively high in calories. Not only that, they are notoriously easy to overeat. So, if your diet contains a lot of snacks, chips, bread, fried foods, and restaurant meals, you’re not only going to be consuming a lot of salt, but probably also a lot more calories. That could certainly explain the link between sodium and weight.