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Researchers led by professor Graham MacGregor of Queen Mary University in London have produced the first study of its kind linking salt to obesity.

The research complied data from 450 children and 780 adults from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008/2009 to 2011/2012 who self-reported their intake.

As you might imagine, the self-reporting aspect of the study drew red flags from other professionals, who questioned the reliability of the findings.

The actual study “analyzed urine samples over 24 hours and calculated calorie intake from a four-day diary. The results showed that salt intake in urine was higher in people who were overweight or obese, with an extra gram of salt a day leading to more than 20 per cent increase in the chance of being heavy.”

MacGregor and his researchers admit they cannot be certain why salt has such a profound impact on obesity, but suspect every extra gram eaten each day increases obesity risk by 25 per cent, because salt modifies metabolism, altering the way the body absorbs fat.

Of course, most of the salt we eat comes from packaged foods, breads, cheeses, and restaurant foods. And reducing our salt intake to comply with the American Heart Association of the recommended 2300 mg/ or less of sodium per day is an important guideline to follow for optimal health.

I know we all get enough guilt trips and our list of shoulds is long, but if you are trying to shed that belly fat, despite your best efforts, nix the salt on your next Margarita–and skip the tortilla chips– and cook a fabulous burrito at home–using Mexi Mix to create the best tacos and burritos you’ve ever tasted.