All Salt is Not Created Equal
I’m Angela Bilbrey and I am a Registered Dietitian, mom, avid home chef and a long distance runner. I’m excited to be a part of the Mobile Health Team and help Dr. Ann answer your nutrition questions.
One of the questions on the Mobile Health Team’s Facebook page was about different types of salt. In essence, salt is salt. It may look different or taste different but all salt is made from the same basic minerals, sodium and chloride.
Iodized salt is the salt you find in the grocery store in a round container with or without a cute little girl holding an umbrella on the label. Iodized salt or ‘table salt’ is mined from underground salt deposits and treated with iodine and anti caking agents. It is uniform in texture which allows the grains to pack tightly for measuring. Table salt dissolves in liquids quickly and is easy to sprinkle out of salt shakers.
Kosher salt is also mined from underground salt deposits and it is not treated with iodine. It has a much larger grain size than common table salt, making it easy to pick up with your fingers to season dishes. Kosher salt does not dissolve quickly in liquids and typically you will need twice as much Kosher as iodized to achieve the same taste. Kosher salt measures differently than table salt because the large grains cannot pack tightly together which leaves air space between the crystals.
Sea salt comes from salt water and is less processed than Kosher or iodized which leads to a more varied texture, color and taste. These differences are due to trace minerals that are left behind from the water the sea salt was harvested from. Like Kosher salt, sea salt is not iodized, is slow to dissolve in liquids and the crystals do not pack tightly together. Sea salt is commonly used as a finishing touch to give a nice salty crunch to meat, seafood, vegetables, etc.
I often see foods on the grocery shelf with the words “made using sea salt”. Manufacturers have been able to lower the sodium level in their products by using sea salt which is more flavorful than iodized. This isn’t always the case though, so your best bet is to check the sodium content on the label of a product to see how much it contains. Per teaspoon, sea salt and kosher salt have less sodium than iodized salt due to the air space between the grains (which means you have to use up to twice as much as iodized, making the sodium content equal). Current dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 mg (milligrams) of sodium per day, which equals approximately 1 teaspoon of iodized salt or 1.5-2 teaspoons of kosher/sea salt.