Sea Salt vs. Table Salt – The Truth

This is a guest blog post by Claire Harrison

The other day I found myself standing in front of an array of gourmet sea salts, each packaged in a small plastic tub.  The labels were in different pastel colours and the font style was kinda hip looking, if you know what I mean.  Those packages were telling me that if I used sea salt, I’d be hip too, or cutting-edge, or a more “natural” cook.

Being as susceptible as the next person to advertising flattery, I picked up one, admired the pale pink crystals, and then looked at the price.  It was $5.25 for about ¼ cup of salt!  I could have used treatment for sticker shock.

I kept checking out salt prices.  At our local bulk grocery store, I can buy table salt for $.49/lb. while sea salt is $.79/lb—1.6 times more expensive.  Online, I found a Himalayan sea salt that, on sale, was $9.85 for ¼ lb. or $39.40/lb.  Whew!  Fan me, please!

Is this stuff worth it?  Clearly, some research was in order, and I’ve spent several days online, trying to figure out what is going on.  The situation is sufficiently dire that I now need treatment for investigative shock.  I found manufacturers, advertisers, health advisors, and even some doctors making questionable claims and providing junk information.  Ouch!

So…what’s the situation?  Basically, in the nutrition battlefield, sea salt has become the white knight while table salt is the enemy.  Sea salt is “organic,” “natural,” “pure” and “healthy”; table salt is “highly refined” and “heavily processed.”  Everything beneficial that salt does for us, such as regulating fluid balance in the body and enhancing the taste of food, sea salt can do better.  Everything bad about the overuse of salt, such as contributing to hypertension, heart disease, and strokes, has been placed at table salt’s doorstep.

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, says that “It seems to be a rule of nutritionism that for every good nutrient, there must be a bad nutrient to serve as its foil, the latter a focus for our food fears and the former for our enthusiasms.” Yep, he sure got that right.

Certainly, it benefits advertisers to put table salt in a bad light in order to make us spend more money not only to buy sea salt but also to purchase “must-haves,” such as sea salt grinders and, if you buy the salt in blocks, specialized sea salt shavers. (I kid you not!)  I suppose I should not be surprised that promoters want to mislead us.

And I’m afraid we can be easily mislead, not because we’re ignorant or stupid, but because salt has fallen under what Pollan calls the “great Conspiracy of Scientific Complexity.”  In this conspiracy—contributed to by the food industry, government, nutritionists, and journalists—food has gone from something humans used to eat just for pleasure and sociability to something we can’t eat “without professional guidance because of widespread confusion about nutrients.”

I hope in this post to eliminate some of the confusion around salt so that both you and I can make reasonable decisions in the grocery store.  I’ve put the information I’ve gathered in a Q&A format, following the questions I asked as I researched.

Is the source of table salt and sea salt different?

All salt, whether labelled table salt or sea salt, comes from a salted body of water—namely, an ocean or salt-water lake.  Some salt makers use water or deposits from today’s oceans; others use deposits evaporated from oceans in previous geological eras.

In other words, all salt is “sea” salt.

How “natural” is sea salt vs. table salt?

Every type of salt comes from a deposit that is created when salt water evaporates.  There are two ways in which this evaporation takes place.

The first type of evaporation is part of a geological process in which an ocean or salt-water lake dried up many millions of years ago and sediments were laid down. Sometimes this salt can be found on the surface of the earth, such as the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  Mostly, however, these salt beds are underground, and the salt that comes from them must be mined.  This type of deposit yields both table and sea salts.

The second type of evaporation is a man-made process in which manufacturers mimic nature by evaporating salt water until crystals form and then processing the salt to reach a standard of desired quality.  Table salt is made this way in salt refineries; sea salt is made this way by hand and/or with some mechanization.

In other words, table salt and sea salt are created by the same methods—both of which arise from the “natural” process of evaporation.

Do table and sea salts differ in composition?

All salt deposits contain the same mixture of elements.  According to Marine Science, no matter how much salt happens to be dissolved in a given drop of ocean, it is “always made up of the same types of salts and they are always in the same proportion to each other”: 85.62% sodium chloride and 14.38% other trace minerals: sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride (in descending order of quantity).

Sea salts retain the trace elements while table salt has been processed to remove trace elements and include additives (more on this below).  Deposits of salt can also include pollutants from the air, chemicals from rain that fell on the deposits, and elements from soil surrounding the water or deposits.  Both table and sea salts may require special processing to remove impurities.

In other words, sea salt and table salt share the same amount of sodium chloride, but only sea salt retains the trace elements found in saline water.

Isn’t sea salt “purer” because it doesn’t have the additives that table salt does?

This seemingly simple question turned out to be more than I bargained for.  Here goes.

Under U.S. law, up to 2% of table salt can be additives.  These are usually an anti-clumping agent and iodine.

Anti-clumping agent: A characteristic of all salts is that they absorb water from the surrounding environment and thus clump.  Table salt manufacturers ended the clumping problem by adding an anti-caking compound, approved as non-toxic, that enables the free flow of salt.  Other foods in powder form such as tea, coffee, sugar, and milk have the same problem and also use anti-clumping compounds.

Iodine: No salt, table or sea, in its natural state contains iodine.  This mineral was added to salt in the early 1900s when scientists discovered that an iodine deficiency in American diets was causing thyroid goiter, a mass in the neck that could press on the trachea and esophagus. This discovery led to “iodized” table salt and a significant reduction of goiters. Subsequently, lack of iodine in pregnant women was found to cause a form of mental retardation in infants called Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD).  This disorder remains a problem.  According to UNICEF (2007), “over 1 billion people in the world suffer from iodine deficiency, and 38 million babies born every year are not protected from brain damage due to IDD.”

One promoter of sea salt argues that “most Americans generally get enough iodine from their diet without iodized salt; seafood and sea-vegetables, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale for example, all contain some iodine.”  This claim, I suggest, is up for debate as research on American diets shows that most people don’t eat enough fish or vegetables.

Now I get just as much buzz as the next nutritionally interested person when I think I’m getting a “pure” food.  But I found myself wondering if table salt is really less “pure” than sea salt because of these additives.  That led me to questions such as “What does “pure” really mean?” and “What do we want when we seek “pure” foods?”  Yep, definitely more than I bargained for.

After much musing, I’ve come to the conclusion that “pure” implies a food whose essence has not been changed by processing or additives.

Another way to put this is that a food is “pure” when it has not been tampered with to the point that it has virtually become a “pseudo-food”—a conglomeration of chemicals added during processing, designed to make the product appeal to taste buds, to lower the cost of production, to preserve shelf life, and to increase nutrient value for the purposes of advertising.

For example, let’s look at the ingredient list for Christie Vegetable Thin crackers. To my way of thinking, a “pure” baked product includes basic ingredients such as flour, yeast, eggs, sugar, salt, oil, baking soda, baking powder, and other ingredients for taste and texture such as herbs, seeds, spices, extracts, coconut, chocolate, etc.

On this basis, Vegetable Thins can’t be considered “pure.” It contains 26 ingredients, many of them chemicals which don’t occur in home baking such as hydrolyzed soya and monosodium glutamate.  Moreover, Christic claims that these crackers are baked with real vegetables.  But is “dehydrated vegetable and seasoning blend” the same as real vegetables with their rich nutrients and fibers?  Not likely.

In other words, should we consider all additives equal? In my opinion, table salt additives do not create a pseudo-food.  Their purposes are to enable flow and improve health outcomes while the food value remains intact.

Is sea salt “healthier” than table salt?

Our bodies require salt. Today’s problem is that our diet usually includes far more than our daily requirement: 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day or less than 1 teaspoon, whether it is table or sea salt. Sea salt, contrary to some claims, does not contain less sodium than table salt.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “By weight, sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium chloride.”

As noted above, table salt is processed to remove trace elements while sea salts, in general, leave these in.  These minerals are indeed important in our diets, but in sea salt they exist in what the Mayo Clinic describes as “insignificant amounts.” Chances are you are getting the same minerals in greater quantities in the fruits and vegetables that you eat.

In other words, both sea salt and table salt are equally “healthy” when used in appropriate amounts.

So…is there a good reason to buy sea salt?

Yes, if you’re seeking the flavours, colours, and textures provided by the different sources and processing techniques of sea salt manufacturers.  These qualities can make a difference.  A 2005 article in Salon.com, “Worth One’s Salt,” although a little dated and not inclusive a newer sea salt brands, discusses salts and includes a taste test of different salts on a variety of foods.

Personally, I can’t see the purpose of paying a significantly higher price for sea salt for everyday use.  However, I can see doing so for a very special occasion.

What about you?

After a career as a communications consultant and university instructor, Claire Harrison has turned to blogging about food and recipes for gluten-sensitive, lactose-intolerant people who must also diet for health reasons. Read her Food ReFashionista blog.

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  • http://goodtastehealthyme.wordpress.com Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me

    This post was fantastic. Thank you so much for providing such an informative post!

  • JessH

    Wow, what a great post!  VERY well written!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenleebow Ken Leebow

    If we will purchase bottled water … a multi-billion dollar business … then via marketing and advertising, we’ll purchase anything.

    Ken Leebow
    http://www.PartiallyHydrogenated.com

    • Ty

      You’re also an idiot.

  • http://www.awakenedwellness.com Rachel Assuncao, Health Coach

    Ummm…you left out some truly valuable information.  There is a difference between that white crystalized ‘sea salt’ that you buy in the grocery store and the grey, pink or brown unrefined sea salts that you can buy in health food stores (in bulk for cheap) and at those expensive salt stands at the farmers market or in gourmet shops.

    The white sea salt that you buy in the grocery store is what you are referring to in your post.  And I agree with your assessment of it.  While it does contain traces of minerals, it is processed just like table salt is.

    Unrefined sea salts, however, contain approximately 80 minerals, depending in where they were harvested.  While refined sea salt contains usually around 0.01% trace minerals, it is much higher in unrefined sea salt (somewhere between 2 and 15%, depending on many factors, such as where it was harvested and how it was produced).  Iodine is naturally occuring as the ocean is rich in iodine, so it doesn’t need to be artificially added in (and the iodine that is added into salt is usually synthetic, which is difficult for your body to process properly, as with any synthetic ingredient).

    The minerals exist in the same balance as they do in the ocean, which is very similar to the balance of minerals that we need in our bodies.  They are still moist and often clump together because they don’t contain any of those anti-clumping agent additives.  They come in a variety of colors, reflective of the mineral makeup of the water where it was harvested.  Unrefined sea salt is a pure, whole food.  Himalyan salt and others that are mined also fall into this category (though the mining is rarely sustainable and often harmful to the local environment and the laborers, involving the use of dynamite.)

    I think any article that is going to talk about salt should also examine the health benefits of unrefined sea salt, as there are many, when consumed in moderation.

    • carol

      All true, but because we eat salt in relatively small quantities, the amount of these trace minerals is pretty insignificant (i.e., you would have to ingest a lot of sodium before you got much of the other minerals).

      • Lindaz51

        I think the point being here that the minerals were placed with the sodium to work in synergy- in the amounts that are required for our health- I do not know the exact quantities of these various minerals we actually use and require everyday- but I suspect they are needed in very small amounts and yet perform significant, vital functions.  Taking these minerals out of the salts (in order to sell them) was a disservice to our health that I think we are just not discovering. 

        • carol

          Yes, it’s best to get all the nutrients inherent in a food. My point is that we are still talking very small quantities … plus these are minerals that we get from all plant and animal foods, because they all take up the minerals from the earth, sea, or wherever grown. Seaweed is probably a better source of these minerals than salt, again, unless you are eating salt by the tablespoonful.

          • Anonym

            A small serving of salt can actually provide quite a bit of minerals when they make up 85% of the salt because it contains nutrients which are measured in mcg and nanograms and it is actually not hard to meet the RDA with a serving or two.

          • Anonym

            In fact, I did the research on Himalaya salt and found that a serving provides 33% of iodine and that is with only 25% of sodium if I recall correctly.

          • Ty

            I was JUST certain I read the dumbest comments in the world not more than five minutes ago. You have taken the glory of that previous banter speaking of sea salt not being white… you have now stated the dumbest thing I have ever read.

        • Philip J. Mauch

          The trace minerals in sea or pink salt are there in insignificant amounts. Get your minerals from meat and veggies, which contain significantly higher amounts of them than salt.

    • Gerome

      Rachel, it seems you too left out truely valuable information. What are some of the many health benefits of sea salt? I spent a little time looking around sites like Mayo Clinic’s and could not find any reference to health benefits of any salts.

      • itsmeamyna

        I’d like to know them too

        • Karielyn

          If you do a google search for “health benefits of pink himalayan salt” there are numerous articles listing the health benefits, such as the one below:

          Controlling the water levels within the body, regulating them for proper functioning

          Promoting stable pH balance in the cells, including the brain.

          Encouraging excellent blood sugar health

          Aiding in reducing the common signs of aging

          Promoting cellular hydroelectric energy creation

          Promoting the increased absorption capacities of food elements within the intestinal tract

          Aiding vascular health

          Supporting healthy respiratory function

          Lowering incidence of sinus problems, and promoting over-all sinus health

          Reducing muscle cramps

          Increasing bone strength

          Naturally promoting healthy sleep patterns

          Creating a healthy libido

          In combination with water, it is necessary for blood pressure regulation

          Prevents cellulite, when compared to table salt

          Reduces chances of developing rheumatism, arthritis and gout, when compared to common chemically-treated salt

          Reduces chances of developing kidney and gall bladder stones when compared to common chemically-treated salt

          Source:http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/

          • Richard Helmer

            And that list also is exactly what table salt does for you. Amazing. Except the last three things, which are caused by the overconsumption of ANY type of salt, even himalayan salt. The only thing in table salt you really need, besides the salt itself, is iodine. (Oh wait, they don’t add iodine to Himalayan Salt. Odd that.) The other minerals are abundant in normal foods.

            Gotta love this though:

            “Himalayan salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy.”

            It sounds like part of a commercial to sell salt to me.

            The only real reason people should buy these salts are for taste and texture, not health.

          • Karielyn

            Fair enough…

            But just to present both sides of the story, if you also google “dangers of iodized salt” there are many articles that describe the downsides of it.

            “Table salt is created by taking natural salt (or crude oil flake leftovers) and cooking it at 1200° Fahrenheit. Once the unprocessed salt is heated up to this temperature, it starts to lose the majority of the eighty important elements that naturally occur”

            Source: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-salt/

            I’m not trying to convince anyone to chose one over the other, but to be vigilant in looking at the facts on both sides in order to make an educated decision.

            Then, if someone decides to buy the 0.99 box of Morton’s Iodized Salt from Walmart instead of the $9.99 10-ounce container from Whole Foods, go for it! ;)

            Personally, I chose to use the pink himalayan salt primarily because it is unprocessed, unrefined and raw as opposed to the iodized salt which is highly processed…but it’s just my preference.

            By the way, good call on the “Himalayan salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store VIBRATIONAL ENGERGY” comment….it does sound a little sketchy, not sure what that’s all about ;)

          • Mojo

            In short, Einstein already explained that part… E=MC2. The rest a quantum spiritual attenuation.

          • Philip J. Mauch

            The trace minerals in sea or pink salt are there in insignificant amounts. They make no difference unless you were to eat gigantic spoonfuls of salt every day. Get your minerals from meat and veggies, which contain significantly higher amounts of them than salt.

          • Payton Blake

            cellular structure? Someone should tell them that salts form crystals, not cells.

          • Greg_in_Ottawa

            If you do a Google search for “Health Food Gimmicks” I’m pretty sure Himalayan salt would be right up there with the others.

            Where does the Himalayan salt come from (out of curiosity? Is it mined?)

            The original author called it Himalayan sea salt but it seems to me that there likely aren’t any oceans 5000 meters above ground and or in mountainous regions.

            But hey, I hear they are selling really nice ice, from Florida. It’s supposed to grow back lost limbs and cure baldness.

          • SassyFrassy

            “pretty sure”? So you didn’t google search it before making an uneducated comment?

          • Greg_in_Ottawa

            No, but surely you must have?

            Could you link the many hours of scientific research you took upon yourself to come to your conclusion about Himalayan salts?

            We’re waiting….

          • Renee Rabbit

            Do you believe EVERYTHING you read? Just because a benefit is stated
            does not mean it has been tested or proven in any meaningful
            way…you’re quick to deny rigorous research and gullible in believing
            pseudoscience

    • Vaughnirv

      I love the response … Detailed and concise. The sources used to compile the information in the article are suspect. It’s like going to burger king asking for nutritional guidance. You can’t ask a government focused on sick care to give you “health” guidance. They’ll offer “science” as an answer or reply. Of course nobody wants to get raped at a farmers market or health food store, but I’d rather give the $ to myself than to a white jacket md that knows everything about meds but little to nothing about healing. Thanks for staying “pure” … that’s the goal.  

    • Cookingmachine

      So, in all of this explanation and research, why is it that we are paying exponentially more for un-refined sea salt than for table salt which requires much more labor to produce than sea salt. Another big gimmick. At the end of the day, I like using sea salt because it provides my dishes a better flavor.

      • houzemuzik

        You’re probably paying more because the UN-refined is most likely less in abundance.

        Also, the minerals that are removed from the refined salt is RESOLD elsewhere! Do you not get it?
        This makes refining the salt profitable for them!!!!

        Besides, most, if not all processed foods (which are unhealthy for us) are cheap. That’s why whole/natural….SINGLE INGREDIENT foods are what’s best to consume!

        • Ty

          Single ingredient? Like sodium chloride right?

        • azdoud

          This is probably not the reason: economy works in a way where the price and the intrinsic value are different. the price of something evaluates the perceived value of something not the intrinsic one. Himalayan salt comes from the second biggest mine for salt in the world, in Pakistan. it is more than likely that this mine produces processed salt as well, and that companies working with this salt mine chose to multiply their profit by 40 by trademarking the product. I wont be surprise that this “Himalayan salt” only appeared now because it took that much time to make the FDA approve a product that literally contains rust, or that it just pop off the imagination of a marketing company.

    • Anton B.

      Commercial refined salt is not only stripped of all its minerals, besides sodium and chloride, but it also is heated at such high temperatures that the chemical structure of salt changes. In addition, it is chemically cleaned and bleached and treated with anticaking agents which prevent salt from mixing with water in the salt container. Unfortunately the anticaking agents perform the same function in the human body, so refined salt does not dissolve and combine with the water and fluids present in our system. Instead it builds up in the body and leaves deposits in organs and tissue, causing severe health problems.

      • WeHaveAWinnah!

        Good g-d. I’ve never seen so much BS layered into an innocent sounding paragraph. If you read this and found yourself nodding in agreement, tear up your checkbook and hold onto your wallet.

        On second thought, send me that checkbook. I have a natural earth balancing reclamation process that wild detoxify the chemical inks and restore Gaia balance. I’ll need to sample your emotional energies to make it work, so please include 7 copies of your signature.

        • Chappy

          Yeah, I know people like that… some P T Barnum want-a-be can sell anything to some people.

        • houzemuzik

          How do you know it’s B.S?

          Either way, why would anyone in their right mind want to ingest something with an “anti-caking/clumping agent” artifically added, when one can ingest an ALL NATURAL alternative? (which can still be affordable and taste just as good, if not better)

          You’re probably American, no wonder you’re all friggin’ fat and unhealthy with all these ailments!
          (We all know how intelligent the majority of Americans are!)

          • Ty

            My feces is all natural. Buy it. Idiot.

      • Sarah

        Never mind some people; on what basis did they decide that you’re “BS” paragraph is false? I can’t say that it’s true either but, as a fourth year pharmacy student, I believe you make a very good point!

        • Philip J. Mauch

          If you can’t say that what he said is true, then how on earth could you say with confidence that he makes a good point?

      • Payton Blake

        Soldium and Chloride are not minerals. Sodium chloride IS a mineral though,and it’s called Halite. Halite is naturally clear/white and needs no bleaching. Table salt dissolves just fine, haven’t you ever tried dissolving some in water?

      • Philip J. Mauch

        Please provide us with some links that provide even a shred of scientific evidence that supports your claims.

    • Ty

      You may be the dumbest person in this world.

    • Rae

      speak the truth! this bloggers research skills are lacking severely

  • Sarahjanes78

    Thank you so much for all the research you did on this topic! I had a lot of the same questions you did. Excellent post!

  • Ljl0020

    Something else very interesting about unrefined sea salt is that on the surface, they can contain remains of bacteria and algae which affect the color and flavor of a particular salt and may provide some interesting micronutrients.  Of course, you would not use this type of salt for cooking, but rather as a tiny pinch as a garnish to add a finishing flavor or add complexity to a dish.   

  • Lindaz51

    NATURAL SEA SALT – I think you researched this subject well, but there was a few things that I would like to comment on and correct.  My personal food philosophy is that natural is ALWAYS better than processed foods in any degree or manner.  Sea Salt-turned to Table Salt rather mined or harvested that has been chemically bleached, chemically stripped of its minerals (to resell for more than the salt itself is worth- by the way), dried either by heat (which ruins the minerals if they are left on the crystal)  or a chemical drying agent and processed anti-caking agents some of which even include  Aluminum (as in found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patient’s and generally believed to be the cause of the disease) can be seen to be a much inferior product.  

    Natural sea salts produce a delightful pallet of flavor on the tongue by the crystal structure which is larger than refined salt, and by volume- sea salt therefore has LESS sodium per 1/4 t. serving- because the sea salt crystals or flakes take up less room on a teaspoon than highly refined tiny table salt grains.  

    IS SEA SALT WORTH THE MONEY?  I’d have to say yes- of course- you get more flavor and crunch- both are what we love about salt… and you get less chemical processing and all the minerals that Mother Nature Intended!   I’d say if we consumed a pound a day – that would be a prohibitive economic deterrent to most of us to make the switch- but… at just a teaspoon or less per day- big deal!  It’s WELL WORTH the expense and anyone who has tasted the wonderful difference would agree without question. Natural, unrefined whole mineral SEA SALT is the way to go…. I enjoy a salt called TIBETAN ROSE and another one called BRITTANY GRAY- a French whole Mineral salt is wonderful and both are quite affordable for everyday cooking and use. 

    • Hyacinth 89

      Aluminum is NOT “generally believed” to be the cause of Alzheimer’s, at least not by scientists.  From 3 different NGO’s:
      http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_myths_about_alzheimers.asp
      http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=99
      http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/causes-alumi.htm

      • rtmssngr

         This article from the Mayo clinic says otherwise -

        http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602357/DSECTION=before-using

        • Anton B.

          they like your money, and dont care your health!

        • mcshady

          Score: Hyacinth 89: 3, rtmssngr:1

          Victor: Hyacinth 89

        • Corey

          No, it doesn’t. It alludes to a sensitivity to aluminum for Alzheimer’s patients that is worthy of consideration. Correlation is not causality.

          • Dawn

            Aluminum is a poison to the body in any amounts. It is not needed for any body functions whatsoever. Why argue about Alzheimer’s? The point is Aluminum is used in the process of making table salt, which is a known poison to the body. The use of so many toxic heavy metals in processed foods and medicines accumulates in the body. These substances are part of the non-biological properties of the earth and are not meant to be biologically active and yet man has made guinea pigs of a whole generation of humans by including them in our food chain. All these metals disturb and interrupt and change the biochemical processes because they bond to other normal body minerals and shift the end product that the dna mold is meant to create for healthy functioning. Whether it is heart disease, or Alzheimer’s, or MS or Crohn’s, allergies, or lupus, parkinson’s, or autism, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, the list goes on – all these diseases have incorrect biochemical processes happening in organs, nerves and muscles, add cancer and you have all possible body functions.

          • Payton Blake

            Aluminum is found in sea salts.

            One thing you don’t seem to quite get though, is elements that, alone, may have ill effects, in compounds they might not. You realize that all salts are a metal plus a nonmetal, right? Sodium is a metal, and yet as part of salt, it is vital in our diets.

          • Dan

            You know, ANYTHING in a sufficient quantity is a poison. The motto of toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” In a small enough dose, arsenic is completely safe and in a high enough dose, water is deadly.
            I think you may have learned a little too much pseudoscience and not enough real science.

          • Dana Greene

            I am aluminum sensitive. It causes inflammation and blisters for me. There is a study that says table salt causes vityleyego which I have, pardon my spelling if that word is messed up. Something about it “washing” the coating off cells and T17s “eating” them. Alzheimers has a correlation to inflammation.

      • Sarah

        These are not reliable sources; you want the real stuff? Go to medical databases such as MEDLINE and SCOPUS and SCIENCEDIRECT to find original articles from doctors and other experts (including how they did the experiment, conclusions, etc.). I study in the medical field, so when it comes to these debatable claims I notice a vast difference between normal websites and original databases. I suggest you take a look.

        • Kim

          Another conventional medicine cult follower…those are not legitimate sources since research is driven by profit. The motivation to perform expensive research lies in what potential earnings may come in the form of pharmaceuticals, etc. Sorry to hear you have been mislead into believing conventional medicine practices discovered and instituted in the ’40′s will cure anything. Hospitals cause more death than any one illness. Most illness is perpetuated by the medical practices intended to heal. Very distressing. Very greedy. Very sad.

          • Iam

            God bless you, Kim. You are one of the few awake.

            Back to Lindaz51′s info: Sea salt (no additives but ‘expensive’P vs table salt (cheaper but with added silicates)… you know – that stuff that cuts the lining walls of arteries that then heal causing scar tissue.

            Well that sort of explains why “salt” attributes to high blood pressure. It’s not the salt – it’s the tiny razors added to pure salt which I’m sure those FDA / politicians / conglomerates are aware of but refuse to divulge to the general public.

            So, atherosclerosis (or scar tissue from lesions inside the blood vessels) can be eliminated by eating the real deal (and throw in some extra virgin coconut oil to help with the healing).

      • Kim

        Consider your sources! Conventional medicine has you hoodwinked! Very narrow-minded to believe anything you read related to health & nutrition as reported by the FDA, USDA or any other government entity with an acronym. So sorry you are a sheep following the masses to slaughter. Look around…the poor health of most of the population in this greedy country cannot be likened in any other country. Greedy, profit-hungry food suppliers supported by governmental lobbyists feeding the American people pink slime (chlorine) in their burgers instead of feeding cows a non-salmonella producing diet and pure propaganda. Next time you wave the flag you should think about how very democratic we actually are- NOT!

    • Good Job

      An aluminum compound isn’t the same as aluminum any more than sodium chloride is the same as sodium or any more than chloride is the same as chlorine.

      • Sarah

        True, they aren’t the same when they’re OUTSIDE our bodies, but once they’re ingested enzymes and other chemicals are capable of breaking down what we do and don’t expect!

        • Payton Blake

          Even inside our bodies, a compound with aluminum is not the same as aluminum on its own.

    • Wpriceh

      Just to clarify, you are actually saying that sea salt has less sodium by volume because less salt fits in a teaspoon. Isn’t that just using less salt?

      Also, the potassium aluminum silicate used as an anti-clumping agent only breaks down into aluminum silicate in the body which, in the small amounts it is used, does not effect the body in any way. It doesn’t just turn into aluminum in the brain. Morton’s salt stopped using aluminum in 1994, so it’s not in common table salt in any other form.

      Unfortunately your corrections are commonly spread around the internet on health forums and generally aren’t correct in modern iodized salt.

      On the other hand, I agree that sea salt is more aesthetically pleasing, can be crunchier and have a more pleasant texture, and does have very small amounts of minerals our bodies use. For an extra $0.30 a pound it’s a price worth paying either way. Just don’t buy super expensive designer salts and you shouldn’t even notice the price.

      • Payton Blake

        Table salt is just one kind of salt, Halite (Sodium chloride). Sea salts can contain other types of salt, such as Sylvite (Potassium chloride.) If you had a mix of Halite and Sylvite, you’d have less sodium than the same amount of plain Halite. Sylvite has the same crystal form has halite, but due to inclusions tends to be pinkish or yellow. Otherwise, they may look exactly the same (cubic). Sylvite however, tastes very bitter.

    • Ty

      Salt is a chemical. You should kill yourself and make room for more others.

    • Nancy Oden

      I want to know what those “anti-clumping agents” are. I note we carefully weren’t told in this article. What are they?

      • Guest

        Sodium aluminosilicate, also called sodium silicoaluminate. Couldn’t figure out why my face swelled and I felt hung over after drinking powdered milk or using sea salt. This additive is apparently the culprit, but I never saw it mentioned on the labels. Google it to see what it is and products are likely to add it to prevent caking/clumping.

    • Payton Blake

      Chemically bleached? Hardly. Halite is naturally clear (will look whitish though) when in a pure form. It does not need to be bleached to get that look.

  • http://twitter.com/adventuresgfmom Heidi Kelly

    I have to buy sea salt because I’m allergic to corn and iodized salt usually contains corn in the form of dextrose.  Guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a thyroid anymore. :0)

  • Lauren

    If Michael Pollan defined nutritionalism, I would say this was “point-of-view-ism.” It’s one thing to say you don’t feel something is worth paying for. It’s another to decide something isn’t that processed. Table salad and its additives, regardless of safety, isn’t as pure as salt whose ingredients just read “salt.” While I appreciated the one-sentence mention of taste, I would’ve started with that. There isn’t a good chef or cook who uses table salt because of its inferior, chemically taste. Kosher salt, pink sea salt and many others can transform any dish. This blog generally does great work exposing hidden ingredients and promoting untampered food, this post smelled of “it’s not so bad” which is a slippery slope. We blogged about salt this week too and as you can gather have different opinions. 

    • Lindaz51

      You may want to also consider KOSHER SEA SALT- a completely different animal than regular- highly refined and treated Kosher Salt.  It’s a wonderful addition to the kitchen and while relatively hard to find- you might check with SALTS OF THE 7 SEAS- I read somewhere they are bringing KOSHER SEA SALT to the market and its a wonderful idea! Try Amazon- I think they have it! 

    • Ty

      Just because you’re incorrect doesn’t make it an “opinion,” you’re just wrong.

  • http://www.rosaberry.com/blog Jenna

    Thanks for this informative and well-researched piece! I teach cooking classes and find that people always ask me about the difference between salts. My salt choice — the one that we used in culinary school — is kosher salt. It’s cheaper than sea salt and I prefer its flavor and texture to table salt. Table salt is hard to sprinkle with your hands (important for getting the “feel” of a dish) and has a bitter quality.

  • Ashleysheeran829

    You left out a lot of information. I must say this is the first article from fooducate that I’ve been disappointed in.

    The main difference between table, kosher, and sea salts is their composition. Kosher salt and sea salt have a different texture and flavor, the reason why chefs or cooks use different salts for different purposes. I started using kosher salt in my cooking and noticed a considerable difference. Health wise, yes there is no difference.

    I highly recommend watching the Good Eats episode on salt. Very informative

  • http://groundcherry.wordpress.com Stephanie

    My major comment is that ~1,500 mg is a daily recommended maximum for most of the adult population in many countries/organizations.  The minimum to maintain good health is much lower.  That’s trickier to set a number on, as it depends on your activity, perspiration, kidneys, etc.  The IOM set the number for minimum sodium intake at 180 mg/day, and there are non-industrial societies which consume less.

    Also, unlike the other commenters, I’m in favor of iodine in my salt.  Goiter is not something I am interested in acquiring, and if you live inland where your food somes from soils low in iodine, you’re at risk.  Now, the arguement that you prefer the texture of sea or kosher salt is valid, as is using non-iodine salt for canning or pickling purposes.  But, honestly, if you’re using enough salt that you can taste the difference between table and sea salt, you should really back off the salt.

  • Shemshadi

    I do certainly believe Salt restriction is not prescribed for all humans equally.
    Some people are sensitive to salt,even little amount of salt cause them to have health issues.But,some people with no salt restrictions,lived so long and have found not to be bothered by salt.

  • Shemshadi

    I do certainly believe Salt restriction is not prescribed for all humans equally.
    Some people are sensitive to salt,even little amount of salt cause them to have health issues.But,some people with no salt restrictions,lived so long and have found not to be bothered by salt.

  • Anonymous

    what a great post!  VERY well written!
    Antiques Furniture

  • Linda Dietz

    Thanks for your article – a friend of mine delights in finding ways to break my belief systems.  Sea Salt vs Table Salt was one of them.  So I too embarked upon research.  The conclusion I came to was basically as stated in your blog.  Table has the trace minerals stripped and has iodine and anti-clumping additives.  Sea Salt has the trace minerals and natural coloring and texture left as is.  The one point my observations seem to has greater importance than most think, relates to the trace minerals.  From the way most eat I woud say ANY way we  can support the intake of the trace minerals COLLECTIVELY  and at 1 time will only benefit our health as I don’t buy the argument we get those trace minerals from other places in the average person’s diet.  That is a personal opinion and one which I  doubt will ever rate a study  as there would

  • Linda Dietz

    be no profit for anyone.  Also if the sea salt was obtained from ancient deposits now on the surface then the argument about polutants in the original water would also not hold true.  That is not an argument just a thought.   Thanks again as you saved me some research time.

  • http://www.exploremindworks.com Linda Dietz

    I also just read thru all the comments – I epecially liked Rachaels and Lindaz51 (besides the fact her name is Linda).   I really think the point about the bodily synergy of the numerous trace minerals combined with sea salt  is a point overlooked by studies as from what I have read was not truly considered due to the researcher’s attention being on the way the question for the study was set up.  Our body on needs small amounts of those trace minerals and perhaps the MOST important aspect of sea salt IS the fact those specific trace minerals work most effectively AND synergistically through the ingestion of sea salt.  That is a personal conclusion/question that I have not found sufficient “studies” to support or refute.  If anyone knows of any I would love to see them.

    • Stewie

      body synergy? You really are a quack. Only the idiots talk about the holistic benefits of sea salt. It’s all the same stuff. Fools and money, huh?

      • I K Xora

        Stewie
        you may have mixed up the term Holistic with other terms. Peoples in the East and Ancient peoples thouughout the world including Pre Medeval /Pre “Scientific Era”/ all seem to be practicing Holistic Methods for Health.

      • fireweyvern91

        Please, if you wish to speak on people using a phrase such as body synergy as justification for calling them a quack, please keep in mind it’s only a pair of words. The people who are speaking on synergy in the comments for this article are talking about bodily processes that are complex and more easily described as synergy. Things sometimes process more easily when attached to other things. That is more easily described at the items having synergy. For example, oxygen and hemoglobin have good synergy but carbon monoxide has better synergy with hemoglobin than oxygen. Don’t be an idiot and assume that Linda Dietz is talking on the “holistic benefits of sea salt”. She is specifically looking for scientific data to say that sea salt is better because NaCl works better with a specific element. As this has not been proven she is acting as a scientist and looking for more data. Fools and their jumping to conclusions, huh?

      • houzemuzik

        And you really are a dumb fuck!
        Who said anything about “body synergy” idiot?
        She’s discussing SYNERGY! Do you even know what Synergy is?
        Go back to school, moron!

  • Kimberly

    How is a $.30 difference significantly more expensive when talking in terms of salt quantity? In my household of three active cooks, it would take us months, probably, to go through a pound of salt. So you’re talking about a savings of a couple dollars annually? For the flavor alone, sea salt is worth it. Table salt tastes like chalk to me now. It’s bizarre to argue the merits of iodized table salt based on cost savings when they’re so minimal. 

    • Slim Pickins

      I saw a blind test on TV- sorry I can’t remember who did it, so take it for what you think it is worth… Both “sea salt” and table salt were taste tested and it seems the real difference in taste was how fine or coarse the salt was. When sea salt was ground to a powder like table salt, there was no taste difference. So cooking dissolves the salt- no difference. Salting after cooking or without- the texture was what people tasted…If you want to pay the price for sea salt, so for it!

  • Micahsec

    commercial table salt is cooked at 3000 degrees Fareinheit.  This alter the molecular structure of the salt and destroys minerals.  They aren’t really processed in the same way.  I appreciate the other info though.  

    Cheers,
    Mic

    • WeHaveAWinnah!

      BS.
      1. Salt does not have a molecular structure which can be altered.
      2. Table salt is not “cooked at 3000 degrees”. That procedure would cost more than you pay for the salt.
      3. Minerals can’t be destroyed by heat attainable in any type of food processing.

      3 sentences, 3 lies. What is this guy selling?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5KLJ47JTQKFUQSZXJZUMLSRXGE Preston

    62 and on medication for hypertension, I found the article highly informative. I know there will be some that will attempt deconstruct some of the theories but I for am totally satisfied.

  • rtmssngr

    Claire, Thank-you for your candid appraisal of this subject. One of the reasons I stopped using regular salt is because of the aluminum they add to it. There have been many studies showing the link between aluminum and Alzheimer disease. I was wondering if you ran across any of this in the information you studied.

    I can tell you from my bodies experience that I retain a lot of fluid if I eat table salt. I can’t use it all! I can however eat sea salt with no fluid retention. My blood pressure is much lower on the sea salt. Every ones body is different and some may be able to tolerate the table salt. I just know what my body is telling me personally.

    My husband and I have just learned (through allergy testing) that we need to be vegan and gluten free. We have been vegetarian all of our lives and vegan for most of the past 20 years. But now going GF as well…I look forward reading your articles on gluten and diet.

    Hope you find joy in your day. Thanks again for the time you invested in putting this together.

    • rtmssngr

       http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602357/DSECTION=before-using

  • Anton B.

    table salt kills
    natural untouched sea salt is even healing, and is even good for HBP !
    look further then your nose is long before you try to inform other people!
    look for medical reports for it.
    second you doctor tells you salt is bad for HBP.. B.S. tabelsalt yes! thats killing
    but that’s what the medical pill industry wants.. 
    keep on dreaming
    anton B.

    • biggan

      Salt is still just salt NaCl, no different if it comes from water, rocks or space its still just NaCl. Also you need small amounts of salt to survive or youl get sick.

  • Anton B.

    even the AHA stink’s… here is more info for who, who’s smart… hehe
     Commercial refined salt is not only stripped of all its minerals, besides sodium and chloride, but it also is heated at such high temperatures that the chemical structure of salt changes. In addition, it is chemically cleaned and bleached and treated with anticaking agents which prevent salt from mixing with water in the salt container. Unfortunately the anticaking agents perform the same function in the human body, so refined salt does not dissolve and combine with the water and fluids present in our system. Instead it builds up in the body and leaves deposits in organs and tissue, causing severe health problems.

    • Glen

      Sorry, but salt does not have a chemical structure. It is an ionic compound which dissociates when dissolved in water. The ionic bonds in salt crystals are extremely stable and salt does not even melt until 1474 degrees F.

      Anti caking agents cannot possibly prevent salt from dissolving in water. The agent itself is not soluble but has no effect on the salt. It is not digested, but passes through the body.

      Please take a chemistry class so you don’t continue to believe nonsense.

      • Akili Muhammad

        If anticaking agents are not digested and just pass thru the body, why does the packet that comes in leather shoes, wallets and jackets say “do not eat”? The packet contains silicon dioxide and other silicates which are considered dessicants or drying agents which are now put in foods, mostly spices.

        • Ty

          Can’t tell if you’re trolling or just rreally stupid..

        • biggan

          Because children can get them stuck in their throat and their not dangerous at all to eat, you show your incompetence by saying those packages are dangerous. I also think you need to take some chemestry class.

          And by the way, Silicon dioxide is just a rock. Quartz to be spesiffic and is wery comming in all living oranism and earth. In powder it has a special property of absorbing water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CoolestWmnOnDplanet Olya Szewczuk

    This is a very good post – will re-post :)

  • wayne

    If sea salt is 14% trace minerals and 86% sodium chloride and table salt is 98% sodium chloride and 2% filler than it is untrue to say that one receives the same amount of sodium chloride from either. Fact is 6 spoons of table salt has the same amount of sodium chloride as 7 spoons of sea salt. Couple that with the beneficial trace minerals and the better flavor sea salt is a no brainer. Besides anti-clumping agents don’t sound all that healthy.

  • Abdul

    It seems that sea salt is better because it has trace minerals, gives good taste and cost makes you use sparingly comparitive to tabel Salt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001491185717 Genevieve L Ferrantino

    You stated one of the most important reasons why unrefined sea salt is waaay better. This is simply because our bodies need at least 72 trace minerals to survive and thrive. Table salt has the minerals taken out, thus leaving people with mineral deficiancy (most people don’t eat kale, and sea veggies by the way). This causes a whole host of problems starting with overeating, water retention, hyper tention, high blood pressure, heart disease, circulatory problems, kidney inefficiancy, etc…

    • houzemuzik

      Exactly! That’s why I supplement with things like Vegegreens (which contain all the nutrients we’re SUPPOSED to consume everyday, but who eats Kale, Watercress, etc. every day?)
      Plus I use things like Magnesium, Vitamin D, Glutamine, BCAA’s, Whey Isolate, Arginine and a Multivitamin!

      Couple that with only low-glycemic/complex carbs, no sugar anymore, only water, black coffee or green tea, moderate fat and high protein diet.

      No processed foods anymore, no bread/cereal, only home cooked fish, chicken and beef with minimal salt usage, exercise & lots of sleep! :)

  • David Cramer

    I was told, and have tried it for myself, that the disolvability of table salt, due to high heat processing, in clearly inferior to sea salt. Take two glasses of filtered water and stir one spoonful of seasalt in one glass and an equal amount of table salt in the other. Stir. You will then see that the glass with sea salt is clear while the table salt is cloudy with undisolved solids at the bottom. Why? You would think the table salt, being more highly ‘purified’ or refined would be the winner. Not so. Do these same undisolved solids have a deleterious effect in our bodies? Has anyone ever done a doubleblind study to determine if one type of salt causes more hypertension than the other — and that this is connected? I have also been told that table salt has silica or glass in it which ‘scratches’ the interior walls of our blood vessels. This then attracts cholesterol to the site to facilitate healing of the scratches, which in turn reduces vessel diameter, which in turn leads to higher BP. I don’t know and have not seen cogent research to verify or dismiss these ideas. But I do not believe, seeing the cloudy table salt water, that this high temperature processed foodstuff is innocent. By rule of thumb, and just common sense, any food cooked at very high temperature is usually not so healthy for you. The temperature of the evaporation process vs. 2000 degrees in a table salt kiln? I will go with sea salt. Someone should make it with iodine, if that is possible. :-)

    • jhyan

      Did you weigh the salts, or measure them by volume? Because if you measured by volume you put way more table salt than sea salt into the water. of course you the table salt had more difficulty dissolving, there was more of it to dissolve!

      Table salt does not have silica. It might have dextrose to aid in anti-clumping. What is dextrose? It’s just another name for glucose, the same sugar our bodies use as fuel (and the sugar our bodies transform other sugars into before using them as fuel).

  • Daniel B

    Wow, thanks Claire. This helps confirm a recent suspicion regarding my health. Several weeks ago, I had a bit of a health scare (which I’m still not sure is resolved), but in reaction, I made some major dietary changes to basically nothing processed, very little red meat, no milk and no coffee. I’d had some bloodwork done and my sodium was a bit on the high side so I was also avoiding salts for the time being. After a couple of weeks, my lower throat started to hurt in different intensities throughout the day, usually a couple of hours after eating. In researching causes, I considered that I may not be getting any iodine. Sure enough, after several days of including it in my diet, no more thyroid pain. I still don’t know what is going on otherwise, but at least one concern is out of the way.

  • Shel

    I love the common sense approach in this aritcle. I’m so very tired of the “hype” that goes a long with so many “new” products. I well remember the brouhaha over saccharine and aspertame. It took me a long time to realize the negative effects aspartame had on my emotions. I just couldn’t believe that something so “natural” could have the negative effects I experienced over and over. After months and months of “trials”, I was convinced that this was not my imagination in spite of what all the experts said. Of course, later, it became public that aspartame can be neurologically toxic for some of us. I’m finding the same to be true for me concerning sea salt. I don’t want it to be true, but time and time again I find that eating foods with sea salt results in a “PMS” type syndrome for me. I did not come to this conclusion rashly nor did I want to believe it. I just can’t deny the cause and effect relationship that I’ve experienced over the last couple of years. (By the way, I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago and cannot taked HRT due to cancer risks, so don’t make any connection there. I have no cyclical hormones that this could be tied to.) I try to avoid sea salt as much as possible, but it’s becoming more and more difficult as more and more restaurants and companies jump on the band wagon of sea salt’s so called health benefits. I can’t wait until others begin to complain, as they did with aspartame, and scientists and nutrionists do further research. This is no small matter for people like me and it’s frustrating and angering that we are looked at askance when we try to find answers. In the meantime, I subscribe to the old bumper sticker/poster that says, “I have PMS. Don’t give me a gun!”

  • yo’mama

    Um, table salt is bleached to make it so white. Yeah, I would much rather not eat that. Not to mention the fact that natural sea salt contains valuable minerals that we don’t otherwise get in our diet. Sorry, do better research next time before writing such as asininely stupid article

    • Phil

      The trace minerals in unrefined sea salt are so minute, especially if you limit your daily salt intake to the recommended amount, that sea salt provides inconsequential nutritional benefits, aside from the sodium chloride itself. What I would worry about in unrefined sea salt are all the toxins floating around in our oceans that remain after evaporation.

    • Ty

      You and the other idiots that have never grabbed a warm moist fistful of crystallized chunks of salt from the rocks near the shore–salt is white.

    • Not scientifically ignorant

      What on earth makes you think that table salt is bleached!???? Table salt, unless it has been iodised, is 100% Sodium Chloride (NaCl). Table salt is not always iodised, at least in the UK, except in some specific areas where iodine deficiency is known to be an issue, due to local water supplies, amongst other things. Derbyshire is one such place – it gave it’s name to a goitre called “Derbyshire Neck”. So – not a badly researched article at all. There is an argument for using sea salt for its texture and, perhaps, the trace elements that may still be present, but Sodium Chloride is Sodium Chloride

    • Payton Blake

      Table salt is NOT bleached to make it white. Table salt is halite, a naturally occuring mineral which is clear/white on its own.

  • Jason D

    Calling the trace mineral content of sea salt “insignificant amounts” is an off-the-cuff gut-feeling statement. The person at the Mayo Clinic who made that statement is probably an overworked, lightly-educated “nutritionist” who operates more on myth and belief than on hard science. Sure, our bodies require much greater levels of many of those trace minerals, but as far as absorption of and utilization of sodium chloride and electrolytes in our blood and organs those insignificant amounts are vital. Our body uses those trace minerals in other ways, when obtained via other sources. Besides, they are called TRACE minerals not because they are small or always found in small quantities, but because our bodies only need TRACE amounts for electrolytic function. We need 2.3 grams of salt per day for our heart muscle to beat properly. We need only a tenth or a hundredth of the trace minerals, in balance with salt, as well.

    One way to think of it is like oil in a car. You can say that 4 quarts of oil is all you need to keep your engine running. However, there are other places in a car where oil is used that is not part of the 4 quarts. That probably isn’t the best analogy, but saying we get trace minerals in other foods is like saying we don’t need to lubricate any other part of an automobile because 4 quarts of oil is more than enough.

    We need fats in order to absorb, transport and use fat soluble vitamins. We need those trace minerals WITH our salt in order to use that salt efficiently. Getting those minerals from kelp provides no benefit for the salt intake, but serves another purpose when consuming kelp.

    • Ty

      Stop spreading your pseudo science trash. You are another idiot.

  • JM

    I think you left out quite a bit. And if the difference is only 30 cents a pound, that doesn’t seem so significant. Table salt is stripped of all mineral content, bleached with chemicals (residue – yuck!), heated at high temps (once you’ve changed it chemically through heat, it’s no longer natural), has iodine we don’t need (as you mentioned, we DO get more than we need, especially if you ever eat out) and has anti-caking agents. That doesn’t sound very natural to me. If you want iodine, eat seaweed in some form. The more natural we eat, the better off our planet will be and the healthier our bodies will be.

  • J zeno

    Something to consider… People generally use more salt in its refined state, and less of sea salts. I for one prefer food closerto it’s natural state. I really object to the reduction of fat (to make them more healthy-not!) and then the addition of refined salt to make the flavor improved. Eat real food in variety and moderate amounts!

  • Jesster

    In most articles about table salt vs. sea salt, a tragic detail is very often overlooked; namely, the “anti-clumping agent”. The author asserts without any qualification that this additive is “approved as non-toxic”….which should probably be taken as a grain of salt (pun intended). Seriously though, ya know what else has once been (and mostly still is) actively approved as non-toxic by corrupt government agency puppets controlled by their corporate puppet masters? In case you don’t know of anyting, here is a brief list (100% true…look it up): DDT, Triclosan and triclocarbon (in your basic handsoap), BPA, lindane, chromium 6 (Erin brochovich anyone?..apparently a very high level of this chemical in the water supply is actually tolerated by the EPA …::sigh::). So, to summarize, this author is seriously biased and we, as a society, should at least counter this author’s bad science with healthy debate.

    • houzemuzik

      Finally someone making the most valid point!!!!
      Sure it’s non-toxic, just like Fluoride in the water to help our teeth!
      Yea, right! (read up on that one for those that don’t know)

  • Akili Muhammad

    The part that you left out was that the body is a balanced group of organs that work together in a systematic way. Just as it is impossible for someone to say that their body can work optimally after having an organ removed (gallbladder surgery), it is not possible for the body to work without the essentials of what it needs. Sodium chloride is not the balance that the body needs which produces an imbalance that may lead to high blood pressure as well as other problems. I am a traditionally trained physician who practiced, althought never completely traditionally, for 15 years and made a transition to more effective wholistic (yes I refer to it as whole not hole)! having people change their salt from white salt to sea salt has been a extremely important aspect of reversing the problems. Our bodies function much more efficient when food is left as nature (GOD) intended!! More info like this on facebook at The Ultimate Wellness Group and you can also visit http://www.bnhealthyisbnfree.com!

  • http://twitter.com/kgrevious Karen Grevious

    Next question is what exactly are “safe” anti-clumping agents?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Lee/100002164448994 James Lee

    Natural Sea Salt is HEALTHIER than Ultra Refined Table Salt. This article is 100% pure BS.

    Unrefined Sea Salt has trace minerals such as magnesium which is what our bodies need.

    Most of us are deficient in iodine, magnesium and zinc. This is why so many Americans are suffering from diabetes and other chronic disease. Most of the health problems today is due to FDA regulations. (Removing iodine from bread) is an example. Because Healthy Americans mean less profits for the Drug companies.

    Stay informed and don’t fall for BS like this article. The bromide, fluoride, and chloride in table salts COMPETES with iodine and use up valuable space. Therefor expelling iodine from your body.

    If Americans only knew.

    • Ty

      Yeah and you and your ultra secret science team did the lab testing to prove all of your claims. You guys must be like ninjas with labcoats. It must be cool to be a part of the real secret truth that noone else can know except hippies and idiots.

    • fooducateisajoke

      I agree with this comment 100% this article is a big joke

  • Tony

    Iodide NOT Iodine is added to salt, where Iodide is an Ion and and Iodine is an element. Ingesting iodine will kill you where as iodide which cannot exist in a free state simply because it is an ion is added to salt. Iodide deficiency can cause severe illness. All you have to do is research the Internet to find that to be true. Screw sea salt which is more expensive and has the same sodium content.

  • Pinex

    This is a good blog. Good info and generally unbiased. =)

  • Golden/knife

    Wow! So much controversy abt salt! In my personal opinion I like better sea salt B-cuz of it’s flavor but I use both of the salts yet table salt is way cheaper than sea salt! In my opinion it all comes down on your personal preferences & if U can afford it

  • Mike

    Every brand of sea salt I’ve ever bought in the past tastes VERY different from the table brands like Morton. Sea salt has a weaker, more pleasant taste. Those trace minerals ARE important and who is the May Clinic to say they don’t matter? In their diet here are some foods they recommend (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mayo-clinic-diet/my01646): yogurt, pasta, mayonnaise and pizza. All of this is junk food. But our polluted seas are loaded with mercury in our fish. All of this food is killer food. So what does the Mayo Clinic know about improving our health? They sure know how to recommend food that will shorten our lives. You missed the ball on your “research”.

  • James L.

    Sorry, but you (and Mayo clinic) are wrong. Sea salt contains less sodium chloride by wt than table salt. Table salt is 98+% NaCl, and sea salt is, by your own #’s, 86%. Take it from a chemist…

  • Laura Alford

    Sea salt makes me sick to my stomach. I have some sort of reaction to it that I don’t have when I use table salt. And yes, I can swim in salt-water pools, the ocean and eat shellfish. It’s totally bizarre.

  • khalid

    have you ever noticed the amount of pollution we humens dump in our seas every day in the form of jndustrial,muncipal,and chemical wastes.the sea absorbs much of this waste and eventually ends up in the sea salt this is one reason why sea salts is more bitter than rock salts because rock salt was formed millions of years back when there was no such thing as pollution and nature existed in its purest form so rock salt is always much better than sea salt.

    • Payton Blake

      The bitterness isn’t due to pollution. Salts such as Sylvite (KCl) are bitter.

  • Isabel Siegel

    I like you. And I like this article. It’s truthful, well thought out and well researched. Keep it up, not many do.

  • Thickbloke (UK)

    An excellent article, thank you

  • Graham Sutherland

    You need to do more research because there are different kinds of sea salt. When sea water evaporates the different salts and minerals in it precipitate out in a specific order. Most sea salt is produced using special techniques to mostly only get the sodium chloride part of the sea water. The magnesium salts tend to make the salt somewhat bitter. So how do we know if the sea salt we are buying is mostly just the sodium chloride extracted from sea water or if it contains all the elements of the original sea water? Unless the salt comes with a table that details its chemical composition then we have no idea.

  • Salary and Salt

    The only potato chips I eat are KETTLE SEA SALT.

    It has that NON GMO label on it from the nongmoproject.org and I know they are legit since they don’t have much money and are very small in financial means but highly aware and educated on real foods to fake….. unlike those bureaucratic special interest corporate conglomorates, it actually tastes pretty good, KETTLE FOODS Inc. made in Salem Oregon says on the back package.
    (watch out for Frito Lay and others, trying to use the same style lettering name)

    • Salt and Salary

      You’ll see what I mean when you try one.
      You can tell from real to fake when it comes down to taste and nutrition overall.

  • Dawn

    Though informative, this blog post has neglected to really point to the biochemical dangers of table salts. Plus the way you casually mentioned monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed soya and then commented that the additives make the foods ‘not likely’ to be the same as the real thing. These two additives have been found to be highly allergenic and are pointed to in numerous autoimmune diseases. The only way to properly compare table salt and sea salt is to examine the biochemical reactions they are a part of and create in the body. This article is a bit lame and misleading. People will walk away with circumstantial evidence that is just lumped together for comparison sake. There is plenty of research online concerning the biochemical processes in the body and how it reacts to different salts. I’d suggest go find yourself some better research if you want to know: Iodized, bleached table salt with unknown additives is not worth the lower cost!

    • Payton Blake

      Table salt is not “bleached.” Halite (NaCl) is naturally clear, but will look whitish when the crystals are small.

  • Dawn
  • divasmasas

    Claire, enjoyed your blog, however you left out many valid points. I am a Himalayan salt importer and have read up and done tests on many salts. Pure sea salt needs to be mined by hand not machinery and dried in the sun not by a machine to start. When you equate this process, it costs more, not because of advertising, but simply the work that goes into it. In the Himalayas, the salt mines prohibit car driving and use of almost all machinery, to keep the pollution down,. Furthermore, the salts found in these mines are much cleaner than sea salts used today, since our waters are being polluted more and more. Traces of minerals per tests have proven that this salt is much more effective and if added with water as a sole drink, you will get the essential minerals your body needs, although I would recommend additional supplementation, example, iodine, selenium, magnesium and others.
    you did not mention the anti caking agents have maltodextrose/dextrin both which derive from corn, which lead to insulin spikes/blood pressure along with the man made aluminum, which takes up much more energy for your body to get rid off. There is a huge difference in aluminum found in trace elements in salt and man made, which we know the difference from studies done on women’s breast cancer from using toxic deodorants and the x-rays that show huge clouds of heavy metal build up. I sell my salt for $3 a lb and as low as 1.55$ per large 55 lb. bag. If you feel the above is not worth to pay the extra couple cents per serving, than stick to the table salt. But you need to do more research on who runs these companies and also on eugenics. Why do you think they removed the iodine from salts again? Money and reduction in humans, This is an example in any food source consumed. I hate it when people compare water and salt, which water will be the next gold, but the majority of waters are owned by large corporations. Salt that I buy is directly bought from a small company that aquires it from the Pakistani government that do testing and accuracy and they adjust the salt in sizes that I order, coarse or finely granulated. Unless you deal with salt, you need to do further research. It is a salty business and yes you need to know who you source from. good luck http://www.divasmasas.com you can email me at info@divasmasas.com for further information. matt

  • Mandle

    If you also don’t agree with mining and would prefer a less detrimental process sea salt would have to be the option. Also just because food standard organizations have labelled something ‘non-toxic’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is. The guidelines are not as strict as they should be, and they have gotten it wrong before.

  • Louise Peacock

    An interesting article and fairly well researched.
    Personally – I dispute that sea salt is “as salty” as iodized salt. We use sea salt in our house, and we have both found that it tastes less salty.

    I do believe that commercially prepared foods, canned, frozen, dry are loaded with salt and a lot of other undesireable ingredients, and therefore, avoid them. When I bake I use just the smallest pinch off salt in the recipe. When I make dinners or lunches I do NOT add salt to the cooking process, leaving people to add if they wish, afterwards.

    So I think that if you watch your salt intake, you will not be unduly harmed by regular salt, on the other hand, if there is a chance that it may be harmful, opt for the so-called natural salt. Why take a risk?

  • harmonygenie

    Holly Cr*p! This discussion is a perfect example of why it’s impossible to wade through all the information and misinformation available on the internet.

  • Another_Pragmatist

    I think this article should be taken with pinch of salt.

  • rox731

    I’m glad that I now do not add salt to my food. I’m still interested in reading the opinions. It’s just safer for me to not add it all. Although, I’m probably getting “table salt” in my food as chefs add it to recipes.

  • Medichick

    Besides the fact that the table salt is heated at over 1200 degrees – essentially destroying anything good in it

  • Joe

    Just to know that there is 1/3 glass and 1/3 sand in table salt is enough. I will not take the risk.

    I always was a steak & patato man, with plenty of TABLE SAT on all my foods. The saltier the better.

    Since I stopped using table salt rercently, I feel better. I changed my eating habits 3 years ago.

    I always prefer organic foods, then natural. I try to eat foods as close to nature as possible. Not much red meat in the last couple of years.

    50 pounds just melted off.

    So, I conclude. Get off salt and sodium of all kinds (except sea salt), give it a week and see if you feel better.

    Feel Better, Joe

    PS: Kim says “but you smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day” BS pack of 72 red a day

  • Charleen

    oh MY MY….. AWESOME INFO FROM EVERYONE… Here is my take or my findings on table salt (grocery. store bought) vs Sea Salt (grocery. store bought) both with iodine added. After my 1st born child I noticed I had swelling in my hands, face and feet every morning and leaving after moving around about 5 to 10 mins later. This has been every morning for my life even after my 4th child was born. My first born is now 27 year old. Lots of drinking water and medications never really helped me just made me run to the toilet more and pee a lot. One day not to long ago, I decided to buy the sea salt at the grocery. store and low and below I came to notice a few days later that I didn’t wake up with the swelling in my hands, feet and face for the first few mins of the day anymore. I kind of thought it might be the sea salt but maybe not until I ate some potato chips with salt (must of been table salt) just my guess because here the swelling came right back. I really watched what salt was in my food items but I did and still use the Sea Salt and I have been without any swelling in hands, face or feet for a while now.
    Everyone might be different but with me I will stick to the Sea Salt for now and maybe the rest of my life.

  • Joshua Manevitz

    Trace minerals are by definition insignificant amounts they fit the bill exactly as our bodies need them in very small amounts , the Mayo Clinic is just plain wrong and is causing very serious harm to the public as the small amount of Minerals accumulate in the human body over time , it’s kind of like adding a few Dollars to your checking account each month versus slowly draining your checking account each month and going deeper into debt . Stick to this analogy thru thick and thin
    and you will benefit immensely in all aspects of life , it’s the Tortoise Beats Haire .
    My point is we need to trust good old logic , unlike the Universities who need Millions of Dollars of grants to prove what we always knew , they have an axe to grind .

  • Ruby Saint John

    Honestly… I feel the definition and defining boundary has gotten away from us again. I definitely need to thank you and place credit where earned for keeping my attention (I’m a horrible scanner of information and just like you are about “pure foods,” I am about information and also how I obtain this information.)

    The way I’ve always defined food is more on a “universal level”… of necessity. The farther away a food goes from its original state, the more “processed” it is.Literally if we look at it as… how many steps are necessary and unnecessary for the same food like to me, alfredo is simply a milk/cream + parm cheese and maybe butter. Very minimal ingredients… 3 right there and we can have a tasty pasta sauce. +MSG, + hydrogenating (for example)+ anything else done to or added to this lowers its “score…” or this is more like gold I suppose.

    BACK to the *point,* right?

    By this simple definition, hands down, table salt is highly processed in comparison to regular sea salt. Removal of minerals (prob necessary to clean it, even… the source needs to be of consideration), the addition of anti-caking schtuffs AND iodine sound like two steps to me that regular “sea salt” doesn’t have.

    Now, taking it further to complete the logic and come “full circle,” back to where we started to “check ourselves…”

    The addition of iodine to regular table salt may have fixed the appearance “thyroid goiter” throughout our population but did this actually correct the problem or… just buy us more time before more severe symptoms of “deficiency” become apparent.

    One must look at our natural sources of iodine and by keeping the picture as simple as possible… one can only imagine, right? How… obtaining this iodine via our overly consumed table salt (sea salt – everything else that made it good for us) we are still omitting all of what we WOULD be eating if we corrected this rather than stuck with the short term gone long term fortification.

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/natural-foods-high-in-iodine.php

    Was try to avoid making this longer but all that will do, if anything, is piss anyone off who actually read this… and who form the appropriate “next questions.”

    So essentially we just skipped out on our lovely daily sea-weed intake for a ridiculous high dose of hypertension. Ooookay.

    So, without all this wordiness… simply put, I consider this a big deal. Deficiencies developed because we have fortified our foods and have grown comfortable that we are and can be healthy off of what 30 basic “necessities.” I don’t know really, but the list that appears on the sides of cereal boxes.

    If we ATE our magnesium, we’d eat greens… and iodine, sea weed is a major source. Vitamin C is so abundant that what is the POINT in less superior sources shipped across our lands (gasoline, air pollution and traffic) in plastic (PET… petroleum derived) products.Our vitamin A, D (sunshine do f**cks sake)… You cannot replace sunshine!… think about it, we drink our Vitamin D with our dairy now, but because of this… people don’t “NEED” to go outside anymore, they can get away with it a lot more now than before without the added ingredient. This leads to us now not exercising, not venturing outside anymore and… by not stimulating our pituitary glad with sunshine anymore… depression is def on the rise– amungst other things.

  • Kass

    I have recently come across a useful piece of information you should consider when comparing sea salt and table (ionized) salt. Table salt is a very processed salt, which I see you mentioned, but what you failed to mention was what this processing entails. During the processing of salt large amounts of sand, what you would call an unintentional additive, accumulates in the salt. Too much salt doesn’t exist in the body because our bodies use salt for practically every electrical conduction/impulse. Any person with a little chemistry/physiological background can conclude salt’s importance! Anyway, back to the subject at hand, this larger amount of sand found in table salt (sea salt contains a smaller amount, thus it is healthier) rubs against bodily veins and/or arteries resulting in internal bleeding (leading to many health issues). Ultimately, I predict this is why the notion “too much salt is bad for you” even came to exist. So, in conclusion, less processed is, once again, the better choice! When I read about the internal bleeding, I have to admit, I was rather surprised, but the high sand contents in iodized salts makes such an occurrence more than possible. Therefore, you should go with sea salt! Yes, it may also have sand contents in it, but in comparison with table salt, the amount in sea salt in negligible.

  • Kass

    I have recently come across a useful piece of information you should consider when comparing sea salt and table (ionized) salt. Table salt is a very processed salt, which I see you mentioned, but what you failed to mention was what this processing entails. During the processing of salt large amounts of sand, what you would call an unintentional additive, accumulates in the salt. Too much salt doesn’t exist in the body because our bodies use salt for practically every electrical conduction/impulse. Any person with a little chemistry/physiological background can conclude salt’s importance! Anyway, back to the subject at hand, this larger amount of sand found in table salt (sea salt contains a smaller amount, thus it is healthier) rubs against bodily veins and/or arteries resulting in internal bleeding (leading to many health issues). Ultimately, I predict this is why the notion “too much salt is bad for you” even came to exist. So, in conclusion, less processed is, once again, the better choice! When I read about the internal bleeding, I have to admit, I was rather surprised, but the high sand contents in iodized salts makes such an occurrence more than possible. Therefore, you should go with sea salt! Yes, it may also have sand contents in it, but in comparison with table salt, the amount in sea salt in negligible.

    • Frank

      WTF!? Man, are you joking? Sand in the arteries?! If you believe this, then I have a chunk of Space Salt to sell you. I got it from Elon Musk’s personal stash. He mined it from an asteroid. It’s 100% pure and it makes you super intelligent. Just reply here to get a pound of the stuff for a mere 100000dollars.

  • Pau Jos

    I have found this discussion forum very entertaining. From time to time, I go through the dilemma of what kind of salt to buy, so during research found this article. I agree that the amount of salt we take in is so minimal, that I resigned to just buying table salt again. I have tried sea salt, Himalayan salt. I took Chemistry, Biology, Nutrition, and find it all interesting. Over 40 years ago they used iodine in our bread, but now they use bromine. There have been studies showing that we need more iodine. I have taken kelp as an iodine source. But, in the end, I think I’ll stick to my iodized table salt. If you look at the Recommended intake at 1500 mg, and the Tolerable intake at 2300 mg, it’s 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp. It’s not enough for me to get too involved in. I have bigger fish to fry…

  • SassyFrassy

    The one of the things you failed to mention is that table salt contains dextrose, while sea salt does not. In other words, table salt contains sugar, while sea salt does not.