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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Gourmet Salt

I posted recently about sodium, which brought me to a question I get asked quite often. Is sea salt or kosher salt better for me than regular table salt?

Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of seawater. The seawater could have come from exotic locations such as Hawaii, the Celtic Sea, the Black Sea, or France (fleur de sel). Sea salt does contain trace amounts of minerals which contributes to it’s slightly different flavor. In addition, it is usually sold in larger crystals than table salt, so it is crunchy. Many other salts also exists that are considered gourmet salts.

Table salt is finely granulated. Since the 1920’s it has had iodine added to it, making most table salt ‘iodized salt.’ Iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid function. However, since salt is so abundant in processed foods in our food supply, we are not as a culture iodine deficient. Table salt also has an anti-caking agent such as calcium silicate added to it so the salt doesn’t get lumpy.

Is sea salt healthier?
Not so much. Sea salt has essentially the same sodium chloride content as table salt, so it can potentially raise blood pressure the same as table salt. The small amount of minerals have no known health benefit and you are very likely getting these minute amounts from other foods you are eating.

Other salts

Kosher Salt: It is a course salt that is used to prepare meats by religious Jews. Because it is more course (larger texture) it is used in certain dishes and often on the rim of your margarita glass. Kosher salt often comes in flake form as well.

Popcorn Salt: More finely granulated than table salt so it sticks to your popcorn, French fries, and chips.

Rock Salt: Really course, large crystals of salt used as a ‘bed’ when serving foods like clams or oysters. Also used in a crank-style ice cream maker. It is not commonly used in recipes and contains impurities.

Salt Substitutes: Made of potassium chloride and contain no sodium.

Seasoned Salt: Salt with herbs or other flavorings. They do still contain sodium, but have less sodium than table salt alone. Use herbs by themselves instead of seasoned salt to reduce sodium content in foods. Several varieties of salt free herb blends exist.

Lite Salt: Usually half sodium chloride and half potassium chloride, so it contains half the sodium of regular table salt.

Photo courtesy of nate steiner
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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