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The Science Behind Potato Chip Cravings

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Here's something potato chip addicts around the world might already suspect: Our bodies may equate salty tastes with more smiles.

The research is new and early, but a lab study on sodium deficiency suggests that being salt-deprived links up with feelings of depression. And although most people aren't salt deficient, salt cravings could be your body reacting to this feel-better hardwiring.

Sad Without Salt?
> Taking a pass on pleasurable activities is a classic symptom of depression in humans. So when researchers noticed that sodium-deficient mice tended to shy away from activities they normally enjoy -- like sipping a sugar-water concoction -- a lightbulb went on. Salt cravings could very much be the body trying to hit the happiness reboot button. Even though most of us get plenty of salt in our modern diets, that hardwiring may still remain. Not feeling all that happy? This quick quiz can help you get a handle on it.

Mood Food
> Although mice and people are pretty different creatures, and more study of the salt/mood connection is needed, understanding the impact that your emotions have on your eating habits is always a smart idea. It's the first step toward making healthier choices. Get more tips on understanding and controlling emotional eating with this article.

Fact: Most of us get too much sodium in our diets. Find out how to ferret out the hidden sodium in your meals with the quiz in this article.

RealAge Benefits

Limiting your sodium intake to 1,600 milligrams or less per day can make your RealAge as much as 2.8 years younger.


Salt craving: the psychobiology of pathogenic sodium intake. Morris, M. J. et al., Physiology & Behavior 2008 Aug 6;94(5):709-721.

Actively patrolling your health can make your RealAge as much as 12 years younger. Take the RealAge Test  Copyright 2009 RealAge

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