Does salt have calories?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does salt have calories?” and discuss whether salt can make you gain weight or not. We will also discuss the health implications of eating too much salt.

Does salt have calories?

No, salt does not have any calories at all. If you add it to your food, the total calorie count of your food would not increase because of salt. 

Can salt make you gain weight?

Yes, salt can make you gain weight but only water weight. Salt directly does not have any effect on weight gain but what it does is, when you take a lot of salt, your body makes you feel thirsty so that you drink water and everything stays balanced. 

When you do drink water, your body holds onto that water. So this water retention is what can make you gain weight. 

Is taking too much salt bad for you?

Yes, taking too much salt in your diet is bad for you. An average human only needs about 1500 milligrams of sodium per day and if you consume more than this on a regular basis, you may face some immediate and long term side effects of it.

Although sodium and chloride both are essential for the body to maintain the electrolyte balance and proper nerve function, you should take it in moderation.

Some short term effects of taking too much salt are as follows.

  • Taking too much salt can lead to water retention in your body. You may feel like your stomach is bloated and your hands, feet or face is puffy. You may even weigh more than before due to all the water weight.
  • It can also cause a rise in your blood pressure.
  • It can make you feel so thirsty because a lot of sodium can leave you dehydrated so you end up drinking a lot of water.
  • Your urine frequency may also increase because since the sodium will leave you dehydrated, you will be drinking a lot more water.

Find out more about the harmful effects of taking too much salt here.

How to cut out salt from your diet?

  • Cut down on processed foods like chips, ready made meals, pastas, and sugary drinks.
  • Make your meals at home from scratch and add less salt.
  • Use spices other than salt to make your dish flavorful.
  • Make it a habit of eating less salty foods.

Does salt have a smell?

No, pure salt does not have a smell. The chemicals added to table salt may have a smell like iodine but it is not very noticeable. 

Salt can absorb smells from the surrounding though. The smell that is referred to as ‘ocean smell’ is not the seawater, instead it is bacteria consuming the decay matter which releases dimethyl sulfide.

Does salt have an expiration date?

No pure salt does not have an expiration date but table salt does come with a ‘best before’ date. Salt is a natural preservative. Pure salt  (NaCl) does not go bad. Salt generally lacks moisture which makes it very hard for bacteria to survive on it.

However, table salt that has other chemicals added to it may go bad. The salt itself does not go bad, but the chemical may go bad. One example of these chemicals is iodine which is added to salt to prevent goiter, a thyroid disease. 

This is why table salt comes with the best before date. It still does not mean that the salt will be harmful if used. Instead the chemicals may just not provide the benefits that they were meant to provide.

Learn more about the properties of salt here.

What is the shelf life or iodized salt?

While pure salt can last indefinitely, it is advisable to use iodized salt within five years. It may even be fine to use this salt after 5 years.

Other FAQs about Salt that you may be interested in.

Does salt kill bacteria?

Does salt kill bugs?

Does salt kill mold?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does salt have calories?” and discussed whether salt can make you gain weight or not. We also discussed the health implications of eating too much salt.