A study finds that salty food diminishes thirst and increases hunger, due to a higher need for energy.
Researchers from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and Vanderbilt University examined the connection between salt intake and drinking using a mock flight to Mars.
Researchers tested the theory by monitoring the salt intake and hydrating levels in cosmonauts during a year-long simulated mission to Mars. They concluded that the adage is nothing more than an old wives’ tale. In fact, they found intensely savory food quelled thirst, making cosmonauts more hydrated and energetic.
Scientists have known that increasing a person’s salt intake stimulates the production of more urine – it has simply been assumed that the extra fluid comes from drinking. They simulated a long space voyage using an environment in which every aspect of a person’s nutrition, water consumption, and salt intake could be controlled and measured.
Their findings, published as a set of papers in this week’s Journal of Clinical Investigation, shed new light on the body’s response to high salt intake and could provide an entirely new approach to these three major killer diseases.
The studies were carried out by Dr. Natalia Rakova from the Max Delbruck Centre for Molecular Medicine and colleagues and used two groups of ten male volunteers sealed into a mock spaceship for two simulated flights to Mars.
The first group was examined for 105 days and the second group was examined for 205 days and had identical diets except that over the period lasting several weeks, they were given three different levels of salt in their foods.
As expected, the result confirmed that eating more salt led to a higher salt content in urine and found a correlation between the amount of salt and overall quantity of urine.