While scrolling through Twitter last week, I came upon a tweet about the dangers of consuming too much table salt. Table salt (otherwise known as iodized salt) has gotten a bad rap for a long time. For as long as I could remember, it was linked to everything from increased blood pressure to heart disease. Doctors often advise most patients to “go easy on the salt.”
So many of us listened. In fact, I stopped cooking with salt for a short time and even shunned the salt shakers on restaurant tables. But, that didn’t last long. Let’s face it; salt makes everything taste better. So, salt came back in my life in an entirely different form: unrefined sea salt. But is sea salt really better than table salt? Let’s discuss.
What’s the Deal with Table Salt?
- Table salt contains added iodine which many of us are lacking in our diets.
- It’s available everywhere (food stores, restaurants, pharmacies, etc.).
- Table salt (in my humble opinion) is sometimes easier to use while cooking.
- Table salt is highly processed to remove minerals.
- Iodized salt contains additives (including some potentially dangerous ones such as silica, talc and ferrocyanide)
- Many of us consume way too much salt (predominantly table salt) as it is contained in most processed foods.
The 411 on Unrefined Sea Salt
- Unrefined sea salt is natural and unprocessed.(Unrefined sea salt is typically not bright white in color, but may be pink, beige, gray or other colors.)
- It contains no additives.
- Unrefined sea salt contains trace minerals which could be beneficial, including selenium and boron.
- Sea salt contains the same amount of sodium chloride as table salt – so even sea salt must be consumed in moderation.
- Unrefined sea salt is typically more expensive than table salt and not as widely available.
- It’s easier to add too much or too little salt to recipes when cooking with sea salt. (Practice makes perfect though!)
Moderation is Key
Regardless of which type of salt you fancy, moderation is key! And you must also factor in salt added to the processed foods you may consume. In fact, most of the sodium that you consume (up to 75% according to the FDA) may be in the packaged foods you eat every day. So, it is important to read food labels carefully.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that Americans over the age of 4 consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. (If you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, it is recommended that you consume less than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day.)
Do Your Research
Based on dozens of articles on this topic that I have read, I have decided to stick with unrefined sea salt (in moderation of course!) and continue to limit my table salt intake (knowing that some of the packaged foods and restaurant foods will contain table salt). Since I am not a medical expert, I highly recommend that you do your own research or consult your physician or nutritionist for advice on this topic.