Adults should not eat more than 6g of salt a day / Getty Images

Queen Mary's University researchers suggest salt disrupts body's metabolism

The more salt you eat, the more likely you are to suffer from obesity, new research claims.

Scientists at Queen Mary’s University claim just one extra gram of salt a day could increase a person’s chances of obesity by 25 per cent.

Although salt has been linked to high blood pressure, contributing to heart disease, this study is the first of its kind to link the substance with weight gain.

Professor Graham MacGreggor of Queen Mary University, who led the research, said they were unsure why salt had such a significant effect on individuals’ weight.

Researchers examined 450 children and 780 adults from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008/2009 to 2011/2012.

“These results suggest that salt intake is a potential risk factor for obesity independent of energy intake,” researchers wrote in the medical journal Hypertension, where the results were published.

It is believed that salt affects the body’s metabolism, disrupting its ability to absorb fat.

On average, Britons are believed to consume roughly 8.1grams of salt daily – well above the NHS recommended guidelines of 6g.

But scientists have urged caution over the results.

Professor Susan Jebb, diet expert at the University of Oxford and government advisor, said although salt reduction was important, the study’s findings did not offer conclusive proof that cutting salt could aid weight loss.

“I would not want to see the public misled by the publicity around this paper into thinking that cutting salt alone will reduce their risk of obesity or help them to lose weight,” she told the Daily Mail.