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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:09 AM   #1
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Salt


question for all the biologists out there...why do humans love salt/salty foods/etc?
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #2

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Here is a fairly old article (1983), that speaks on this.
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In chemical terms, salt is a simple compound: one atom of sodium attached to one atom of chlorine. Biologically, it appears to be sodium that is most vital to life, and has been so since the first one-celled organisms arose in the salty waters of our planet's early seas.
When multicellular organisms evolved and crawled up the beaches to dry land, they had to take the seawater with them in the blood and other body fluids. The mineral content of human blood plasma today is still much like that of the seas of the Precambrian era in which life arose.
But salt is often scarce beyond reach of the oceans. And the ancestors of man for at least 25 million of the last 30 million years were almost certainly vegetarians, and therefore got little salt in their diets because most plants store little salt.
To compensate for the scarcity of a substance vital to life, the brains of our ancestors and those of other mammals developed powerful strategies for getting and keeping salt. Inborn, Not Learned
Many animal species, evidently including humans, have an innate hunger for salt that the brain brings into play as soon as special populations of brain cells register the fact that the body does not have as much sodium as it needs. This response is inborn, not learned, in Dr. Denton's view. In experiments, young animals exhibit a hunger for salt the first time their bodies become deficient in sodium.
''That is, salt appetite emerges spontaneously on the animal's first experience of sodium deficiency,'' said Dr. Denton. ''It is not an instance of the animal learning by trial and error that salt ingestion relieves the sensations induced by deficiency.''
HUNGER FOR SALT FOUND TO BE POWERFUL INSTINCT - NYTimes.com
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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wow


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Originally Posted by okamido View Post
Here is a fairly old article (1983), that speaks on this.

HUNGER FOR SALT FOUND TO BE POWERFUL INSTINCT - NYTimes.com
this is exactly what I ask for---now, I'm being a little goofy by asking, but I was interested in the biologic reason...ty very much
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #4
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so


Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
Here is a fairly old article (1983), that speaks on this.

HUNGER FOR SALT FOUND TO BE POWERFUL INSTINCT - NYTimes.com
it really is a 'need'???
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
Here is a fairly old article (1983), that speaks on this.

HUNGER FOR SALT FOUND TO BE POWERFUL INSTINCT - NYTimes.com
yes, this pretty much explains it. salt is essential for almost all land animals to regulate the water in their body and transmission of nerve impulses (Na atoms).

today, where salt is very common and easily accessible, you body still treats it as a rarity. because it was a rarity thousands of years ago. we might have achieved great lengths with technology but our bodies are still what they were 30,000 years ago. same with sugar and fat. your body wants to store as much as possible for it still thinks that you will starve until the next hunt.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 08:49 AM   #6
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yes, this pretty much explains it. salt is essential for almost all land animals to regulate the water in their body and transmission of nerve impulses (Na atoms).

today, where salt is very common and easily accessible, you body still treats it as a rarity. because it was a rarity thousands of years ago. we might have achieved great lengths with technology but our bodies are still what they were 30,000 years ago. same with sugar and fat. your body wants to store as much as possible for it still thinks that you will starve until the next hunt.
yes, no wonder it is so hard to lose weight
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:35 PM   #7
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salt makes the food taste better? and we cannot last without salt!
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #8

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It would be similar to thirst for water wouldnt it?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #9

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I thought this was going to be a thread about the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty when I saw the title.

There is a biological need for salt - animals will use salt licks (natural lumps of rock salt) to supplement their diet.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #10

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yes, no wonder it is so hard to lose weight
i mean if a body gets used to constant intake of sugar, salt and fat it will *demand* to keep it up. when one starts a diet then that intake is reduced, i.e body's balance is upset (the body has no idea that it's bad for it ). that's why people get a bit angry/depressed when they start a diet. only when the body understands that this amount of sugar, salt, fat intake is the new regime then it accepts it. could take a long time, though.
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