Salt vs. Sugar

The debate between the most detrimental common substance has long raged between salt and sugar. At first glance, they both look similar, normally being fine white grains. But as you find out more about them, you can answer the central question yourself; which is worse?

First, the definition of sugar needs to be cleared up. As I have clarified on this blog before, plain table sugar, sucrose, does not sum up the entire category of what dieticians and scientists define as sugar. Sugar is a generic term used to describe a sweet tasting, soluble, carbohydrate. Other compounds, such as glucose, lactose, and fructose are also sugars. Many people don’t need lactose, but it does help. Your body needs many sugars to work properly, so it is important not to wave them out of your diet. Next, the definition of salt. This usually comes with less confusion, but it doesn’t hurt to give a consice definition once and for all. Salt is a crystalline substance that is formed during a reaction of a base and an acid.

Over time, dieticians have studied the importance and effects of all different substances that fall into these categories. The benefits of salt have been studied, and it is a necessity. Salt helps regulate your muscle contractions and relaxations, it helps reinforce nerve functions, maintain blood pressure, and helps your body retain water, which keeps your fluid balance in check. Sugar only has one benefit, but this is an extremely important one. Sugar acts as an energy source. For your muscles, your brain, your nervous system, and if you ever have too much, it is simply stored for the next time! Both of these categories of substances have their pros, but what about the cons?

Salt can be extremely dangerous if overused. Overuse can inflame your muscles, including your heart. It can induce high blood pressure, kidney disease, stomach cancer, and even strokes. Your body needs salt to help maintain the health of your organs and muscles, but too much puts them at jeopardy. Sugar also has its cons. Along with high blood pressure and inflammation, sugar also brings diabetes, liver diseases, and increased risk of heart attack to the table. Most of these cons only occur hand in hand with overuse over a long period of time, but “overuse” is a vague term that doesn’t stay the same for everyone.

Synthetic sugars are more common than synthetic salts. Splenda, NutraSweet, and Newtame are all popular brands that claim to be a lot healthier than plain sucrose. At the end of the day, they are usually 100x stronger than sucrose, but they come with exponential weight gain, tumors, and other cancers. Synthetic salts are even more dangerous. They are drugs, and can become addictive. These synthetic salts have no health benefits whatsoever.

Both salts and sugars have their own pros and cons. Personally, I would choose sugar over salt. The main reason for this is storage. Excess sugar is stored in your muscles, waiting to be used as an energy source. Excess salt can slowly poison your bloodstream, and high blood pressure is prone to occur. After seeing all these facts, ask yourself, which substance is less detrimental to your health?

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