Why Some People Crave More Salt

Craving SaltPhoto by Dynamosquito/Flickr.com

Currently, U.S. citizens consume two to three times the amount of salt recommended for good health. And recent efforts to reduce salt content in foods might be harder for some to swallow – literally.

Some people experience the taste of salt more intensely than others, and this taste difference might be due, at least in part, to hereditary factors, a new study suggests.

So-called “supertasters” taste saltiness, bitterness and sweetness more acutely than others, said study researcher John Hayes, an assistant professor of food science at Penn State University. This heighted salt sense can lead to an increased consumption of snack foods, which usually have saltiness as their primary flavor, he said.

Salt has been in the spotlight recently, with many public health experts calling for manufacturers and restaurants to cut back on salt added to foods. In April, the Institute of Medicine released a report urging the federal government to step in and limit salt levels in foods. Diets high in salt are concerning because salt is thought to increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke – and I highlighted specific suggestions on salt consumption in an AOL blog post last year.

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