A new study from researchers at Queen Mary University in the U.K. suggests that one’s salt intake is directly linked to weight gain, and that extra salt — as little as one gram per day — increases the risk of obesity by approximately 25 percent.
The research, published in the medical journal Hypertension, did not make it clear why salt had such an impact on weight, but scientists suspect that salt is capable of modifying metabolism, negatively affecting the body’s absorption of fat. The researchers used data for more than 450 children and 780 adults from the U.K.’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey between 2008 and 2009, and 2011 and 2012.
Results showed that in subjects who were overweight or obese, salt levels observed in their urine samples were higher than those of individuals at a healthy weight. “These results suggest that salt intake is a potential risk factor for obesity independent of energy intake,” the team wrote in Hypertension.