(NaturalNews) Higher salt intake in children is related to an increased consumption of sugary beverages, according to a study conducted by researchers from St. George's, University of London, and published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.
High consumption of salt is well-known to be linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension. Now a new study suggests that it may also be partially responsible for the health problems that come from drinking too many sugary beverages.
Researchers analyzed the salt and fluid intake for 1,600 children between the ages of four and 18. All food and beverages that the children consumed were weighed on digital scales.
"We found that children eating a lower-salt diet drank less fluid," said lead author Feng He. "We estimated that one gram of salt cut from their daily diet would reduce fluid intake by 100 grams per day."
Based on analysis of the children's average consumption patterns, the researchers concluded that a 100-gram reduction in fluid intake would correspond to a 27-gram reduction in sugary beverage consumption.
"Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are a significant source of calorie intake in children," He said. "It has been shown that sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption is related to obesity in young people.
"If children ... cut their salt intake by half (i.e., an average reduction of three grams a day), there would be a decrease of approximately two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week."
According to He, this would remove 250 calories from a child's diet each week.
"Not only would reducing salt intake lower blood pressure in children," He said, "but it could also play a role in helping to reduce obesity."
The researchers noted that prior experimental studies have shown that reducing children's salt intake leads to a reduction consumption of sugary and other beverages
"Currently, salt intake in young people is unnecessarily high because of, in most countries, hidden salt added to food by the food industry," they said.