However, for every gram of excess sodium chloride that your body has to neutralize, it uses up 23 grams of cellular water. Hence, eating too much common processed salt will cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, which may contribute to:
- Unsightly cellulite
- Rheumatism, arthritis and gout
- Kidney and gall bladder stones
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Fructose and High Blood Pressure
That said, hypertension is actually promoted more by excess fructose than excess salt. So while I certainly agree you should not consume large quantities of refined processed salt, just switching to low-sodium processed foods is not going to do much to improve your health.
The connecting link between fructose consumption and hypertension lies in the uric acid produced. Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism, and increased uric acid levels drive up your blood pressure.
The amounts of salt Americans consume pales in comparison to the amount of fructose eaten on a daily basis, and I’m convinced that it’s the sugar/fructose consumption that is the major driving force behind our skyrocketing hypertension rates, not excess salt. For more information about this, see investigative journalist Gary Taubes’ article, The (Political) Science of Salt.
In it he writes:
“While the government has been denouncing salt as a health hazard for decades, no amount of scientific effort has been able to dispense with the suspicions that it is not. Indeed, the controversy over the benefits, if any, of salt reduction now constitutes one of the longest running, most vitriolic, and surreal disputes in all of medicine….
[T]he data supporting universal salt reduction have never been compelling, nor has it ever been demonstrated that such a program would not have unforeseen negative side effects. This was the verdict, for instance, of a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
University of Copenhagen researchers analyzed 114 randomized trials of sodium reduction, concluding that… a “measurable” benefit in individuals with normal blood pressure (normotensives) of even a single millimeter of mercury could only be achieved with an “extreme” reduction in salt intake. “You can say without any shadow of a doubt,” says Drummond Rennie, a JAMA editor and a physiologist at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, “that the [NHLBI] has made a commitment to salt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts.”
After decades of intensive research, the apparent benefits of avoiding salt have only diminished. This suggests either that the true benefit has now been revealed and is indeed small, or that it is nonexistent, and researchers believing they have detected such benefits have been deluded by the confounding influences of other variables…”