Salt or sugar: which is better for your health?

Verified on 02/02/2023 by PasseportSanté
Sel ou sucre : lequel est le meilleur pour la santé ?

Which is more harmful to your health: salt or sugar? Benefits for the body, health risks, maximum daily quantities… We take stock and reveal which is more harmful.

The health risks of salt

Consisting mainly of sodium chloride, dietary salt is essential for the body to function properly. In particular, it enables muscular contractions, optimizes nerve transmission, maintains a good level of water in the body…

According to the World Health Organization, salt intake should not exceed 5 grams per day. Beyond that, salt can be dangerous to your health.

Yet we consume far more than the limits set by the WHO. For example, the French ingest between 8 and 10 g of salt a day!

Consumed in excess, salt can have deleterious effects and be responsible for certain serious pathologies such as :

As you can see, salt is essential to the body, but can be dangerous to health when consumed in excess.

The health risks of sugar

There are many different types of sugar. There are two main categories of sugar: complex carbohydrates (which include fiber, starch and glycogen) and simple sugars (responsible for the sweet taste of food).

The first category may be essential to the organism, insofar as it provides the body with the energy it needs. The second, on the other hand, is anything but essential!

According to the World Health Organization, sugar intake should not exceed 25g a day, equivalent to 6 teaspoons.

Yet sugar consumption is much higher than it should be, especially refined sugars, which should be avoided: in the space of a century, it has risen from 5 to 30 kg per person per year in France.

When consumed in large quantities, sugar carries a number of health risks:

  • organ dysfunction (specifically liver, pancreas and intestines),
  • diabetes,
  • overweight andobesity (which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease),
  • the development of certain cancers (colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer)…

Sugar vs salt: which is more dangerous?

Between salt and sugar, which is more dangerous to your health? The answer is sugar!

Considered a drug, sugar can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

And it’s not easy to eliminate it completely from your diet, since it’s even found in many savoury industrial dishes!

However, as we have just seen, salt can also have negative effects on health. That’s why it’s best to pay close attention to the amount of salt and sugar in your daily diet, to stay in good health.