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Excessive Salt Consumption: Consequences, Risks and Advice

Salt is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It is generally used to flavor or preserve food. But despite its essential functions, excessive salt consumption can have unpleasant effects in both the short and long term.

Where does the salt come from?

There are two main sources:

“Mock” salt: salt that the consumer adds himself during cooking or at the table. In fact, it represents only 10 to 20% of the salt consumed. So-called “hidden” salt: It is naturally present in certain products or can be introduced during the manufacturing process. It is found in many products such as bread, cheese, cold cuts, condiments (mustard, broth, etc.), etc. or in preparations such as ready meals, soups, vegetable juices, biscuits, pastries… Salt is the main component of our diet (about 80%).

Some guidelines on the amount of salt in our food:

We can find 1/5 of the recommended 5g per day or 1g of salt in:

– a piece of sausage.

– a handful of crackers or chips.

– a quarter sandwich.

– a bowl of soup.

– 4 slices of bread.

– A slice of pizza.


Short-term consequences of excessive salt intake.

Short-term effects are felt shortly after consuming large amounts of salt. The main short-term effects of excessive salt consumption include swelling of the hands and feet or face. Some people feel bloated from water retention or are extremely thirsty after a salty meal. Generally, these types of effects are temporary, and the body flushes out the excess sodium and returns to a less bloated state after drinking several glasses of water and consciously reducing sodium intake at subsequent meals.

The effects of long-term excessive salt consumption.

More serious side effects occur when consumers consume large amounts of salt over a long period of time.

Higher levels of sodium in the blood limit the kidneys’ ability to remove water, which increases total blood volume and puts pressure on the body’s blood vessels. High blood pressure can eventually lead to stroke and congestive heart failure. Because the kidneys are constantly working overtime to get rid of excess salt, they can develop kidney disease.

Excessive salt consumption over a long period of time can also lead to fluid accumulation in the tissues and body cavities. Also, a high-sodium diet can cause the body to reject small amounts of calcium, which can eventually lead to osteoporosis.


You shouldn’t eliminate salt from your diet, as sodium remains an essential element for our bodies to function. On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid industrial dishes with large amounts of salt as much as possible and to prefer pure sources of sodium.

Track your sodium intake.

You must first determine the amount of sodium you consume each day and discover the sources of sodium in your diet.

Once the frequency of consumption of salty foods is determined, it is possible to make changes that meet established health goals.

Cut back on salty foods.

The main culprits are:

Canned soups Microwave fries and popcorn Condiments like soy sauce Frozen meals Cucumbers and olives Adding flavor with other condiments Preparing meals at home Eat foods rich in potassium.

Add more of this mineral to your diet by eating potassium-rich foods like avocados. bananas. The mushrooms. Peas. Potatoes. Spinach. Tomatoes. oranges.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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