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7 Side Effects of Eating Salty Foods

You might want to cut down on eating that bag of chips every day.

A bag of potato chips. A slice of pizza. A plate of French Fries. A bowl of soup. These are all foods just about everyone loves to indulge in but they have something in common: Yes, they are the saltiest. And if you happen to be a fan of eating salty foods quite often, you might not fully be aware of what exactly is happening to you as you eat them on a regular basis.

The American Heart Association actually recommends most adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams.

So you're in the know of how consuming a lot of salt daily might just be impacting your body, we rounded up the side effects of eating salty foods. And while you're making adjustments to your diet, here are 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!


You'll drink less water.

with closed eyes drinking clean mineral water close up, young woman holding glass

Now, you would think after you consume something super salty, you'll just keep drinking water, as salt has always been said to make you thirsty. While this may happen right way, in the long term of eating too many salty foods, you just might end up drinking less. How does this happen? Well, according to one long-term sodium balance study from The Journal of Clinical Investigation where male participants were looked at between 2009 and 2011, the more salt they consumed, the less water they drank. This was said to be because their bodies were conserving and producing more water. And in order for your body to do this, you would need more energy and fuel, which you get from food, so this could lead to overeating. A truly slippery slope!


You can gain weight.

scale weight loss

If you enjoy eating salty foods, you just might start packing on the pounds. Researchers at Deakin University found that consuming excess salt can lead you to crave and eat more fatty foods overall. Yikes!


You'll feel bloated.

Man suffering digestive distress after overeating

Consuming salty foods every day will lead to bloat, as your body is retaining water. A study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that bloating was more common in those who ate a high-sodium diet compared to those who ate a low-sodium diet. When you're bloated, you're uncomfortable and for some, you can be in pain, too, so those salty snacks every day just aren't worth it.


Your fingers will swell.

remove ring

And you don't just feel the bloat in your stomach. If you're consuming a lot of salty foods, your fingers can swell up. See, when there's too much salt in your bloodstream, your body as we know, might just end up retaining fluid if all the sodium isn't excreted via your urine via your kidneys doing their job. That's when the swelling in your fingers takes place.


Your skin starts breaking out.

woman pimple

There is plenty of evidence to support the idea that acne and diet have a direct impact on each other and one study found that of the 200 participants, those with acne consumed salty foods compared to the acne-free subjects who didn't consume high intakes of sodium.

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You get headaches.

man massaging nose bridge, taking glasses off, having blurry vision or dizziness

According to one study in the journal BMJ, of the 400 participants who participated, those who ate foods that are high in sodium had one-third more headaches than those who ate foods low in sodium. Another study supported this claim as well, finding that reduced sodium intake also reduced the number of headaches in participants, who were all older patients with hypertension.


You can develop high blood pressure.

Doctor checking blood pressure

It really isn't much of a secret, as there is tons of evidence out there that high sodium intake is associated with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Although this isn't an immediate side effect of eating a bag of chips, if your diet is filled with a lot of salty foods you eat daily, over time you can be setting yourself up to develop hypertension. That's not all, either. Stroke, heart failure, stomach cancer, and kidney disease have been linked to excessive sodium intake, too. And you want to be doing all you can to lessen your chances of developing one of these conditions, not increasing your risk, right?

Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more about Jennifer
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