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Myth: Sea salt is better for your health than regular, iodized table salt.

TRUTH:  I’d like to start by pointing out that iodized salt is iodized for a reason.  If your diet (diet = all of the foods and drinks you consume) lacks iodine, you may develop goiter.  Goiter is a swollen thyroid gland, which occurs (in this case) when the gland doesn’t have enough iodine to make a hormone that affects metabolic rate.  Anyway, the point is that iodized salt was (in the 1900’s) the best, most nutritious salt you could get!

So now that we’re evolving, our nutrient needs are changing, right?  You could argue that – but it doesn’t change the fact that salt, ALL salt, is made up of sodium and chloride.  So there’s not TOO much variation.  Here’s the difference:

Sea salt – from evaporated sea water.  What’s in the water is in the salt (additional minerals and elements in negligible amounts).  The taste, texture, and structure of sea salt varies greatly.

Iodized salt – table salt mined from underground salt mines.  It’s a little more processed to remove the extra minerals and iodine is added to it.

Is there really a difference in the taste?  You might like to think that your palate is very discerning but in most of the blind taste tests I researched (many informal), there was very little taste difference between salts.

BOTTOM LINE:  Have some salt, not too much and the type doesn’t matter.  Using specialty sea salts (like a large flake salt or a black salt) can help create a nice texture and presentation.

As with the beer post, I’d be a bad dietitian if I didn’t say this:  Salt should be consumed in moderation, which means less than 2,300 mg of salt per day (that’s about a teaspoon).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-salt/AN01142
  2. Gourmet Sleuth, Guide to Culinary Salts: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/Exotic-Herbs-Spices-and-Salts-639/culinary-salt-guide.aspx

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