Salt and sugar are both important components of the human diet. It is almost impossible to have food that does not contain either of these additives. These two additions fall into the category of spices and are perhaps the most important of all spices that people consume. It is difficult to think of how you can consume any cooked food without adding a pinch of salt for flavor. Sugar is mostly in many drinks, bread, fruit, and other foods that humans consume. Unfortunately, despite their obvious importance to human survival, these two additives belong to the ‘White Trio of Death’ as mentioned on the Nature Tricks website. This trio also incorporates flour, but that is not to say that your life will be immediately at risk if you consume sugar, salt, and flour. There is more to it than just consumption. To understand more about the two, here are the pros and cons of both, starting with salt.
Pros and cons of Salt
Salt is made up of colourless and odourless crystals of sodium and chloride forming an ionic bond. It is derived mostly from saltwater bodies like lakes. Waters from these lakes and oceans have skin healing properties. They kill harmful bacteria on your skin and help rejuvenate your skin. Other advantages include
- Provides the body with sodium and chloride ions
- Sodium is essential for muscle and nerve function and also regulates fluids in the body.
- Sodium helps control blood pressure and volume
- Chloride ions are essential for regulating pressure and blood pH
- Helps in the production of stomach acid
- Helps in food preservation and seasoning
Cons of Salt
- Excess salt causes bloating
- You can get addicted to salt with frequent consumption
- It hinders the normal functioning of your kidney
- High consumption increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and stomach cancer
- It can cause oedema and water retention if you consume increased amounts
- Increases the risks of blood pressure
All animals require some salt for their survival. Most animals acquire salt from natural foods. Humans add salt to their food for seasoning and to add taste, and give salt to animals as part of their diet if their food is deficient in the same. Even wild animals have their natural ways of getting just enough salt for the normal functioning of their bodies.
Pros and cons of Sugar
Sugar is also found in clear crystals that are odorless and colorless in most cases. It is mostly derived from sugarcane and processed in the form you consume. However, you can also get naturally occurring sugars from some other foods. Like salt, sugar is a very important component in animal diets and nutrition and especially for humans. It has both its advantages and disadvantages based on the nature of consumption. When consumed in excess, sugar can have very adverse effects on your health. Here are some advantages of sugar.
- Sugar is an important source of energy. When feeling dizzy, a boost of a sugary drink can help rejuvenate your body.
- Helps in the normal functioning of your brain. The brain requires about 130 grams of glucose to function properly.
- Helps regulate blood sugar
- Acts as a food sweetener especially in the baking industry
- The body stores some sugar as an energy reserve for later use. You can go for an extended period without eating with such reserves.
While sugar has its advantages, excessive intake, especially the intake of refined sugars can be detrimental to your health. Here are some of the disadvantages of consuming sugar in excess.
- Excess consumption can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Sugar can interfere with your body’s metabolism and also cause chronic inflammation
- Leads to heart diseases
- The body converts excess sugar to the fat that is stored in your body. Too much of this fat can bring about health complications and some lifestyle diseases.
Doctors and nutritionists recommend that you have a balance when consuming both salt and sugar. You should ensure that you consume only that which is enough for your body to function normally. Research shows that sugar has more detrimental health effects than salt since people tend to consume it more specially refined sugar in most modern types of foods. Doctors recommend that you reduce your intake of refined foods, and eat more natural foods. Refined foods have simple carbohydrates that your body does not necessarily need, so it would be safe to avoid such foods altogether.