Why do some people use so much salt?

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In the world’s top restaurants you will not find salt on the table. This is because the greatest chefs in the world believe that their dish has been made to perfection and if you, the lowly customer, want to add more salt to it, then you are insulting the dish and do not have the highly developed taste buds required to enjoy the meal. In essence, if you don’t like the meal it is your taste that is wrong not their cooking. However, there is more to the desired salt quantity in a meal than simply how bad a chef is. So why do some people add so much salt to their meals and what is the impact?

When you think about why people eat, the answer is pretty obvious. Eating is a required action to nourish the body and provide energy for the present and future. Yet in modern times it is much more than that. Many people today eat for pleasure. We get home on a Friday night and treat ourselves to some delicious takeaway. We watch a movie on a Sunday while devouring some ice cream. We do not make these choices because of our requirement for nourishment and energy, we do it because it tastes good.

One of the most interesting things to see is when three people from different backgrounds eat the same meal. Without a doubt, they will all add different amounts of salt to their own meal. One will add none, one will a sprinkle and wone will cover the meal in so much salt the original nuances of flavor are now lost. I was always raised to believe that adding salt to a meal was bad as any additional salt quantity in a meal is not a healthy choice. Today though as I start to improve my cooking I am beginning to understand the important role that salt can play in the kitchen. 

How much salt we choose does come down to how receptive our taste buds are. Some people can immediately taste the flavors while other tastebuds need the salt to help them trigger those subtle tastes. If you are someone who struggles to taste the nuances of a dish without the help of salt but have avoided it for a long time because of the impact on your health, we have some good news.

A new study has shown that adding salt to your meal may help to burn calories. The upside of this is that it may make you lose weight but it will likely also make you a little hungrier. If you enjoy eating that is all good news. 

Of course, salt still has some negative effects on the body. It can increase the risk of high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease. The same study did show that any excess salt was often expelled from the body through urine but this is likely what is putting pressure on the kidney.

It is clear from this latest study and from the extensive work that has gone into salt consumption in the past, that an excessive amount of salt is not good for you. However, an excessive amount of anything is not good for you. The latest study appears to show that eating salt in moderation may be fine and in some ways even beneficial for you. If your family history has a long line of high blood pressure and liver disease we would steer clear of adding salt. However, if you think it is not an issue for you then you can certainly add a little to get the flavors bouncing in your meal. Ignore what the fancy chef says and eat your meal the way you like it.