By: Sarah McWilliams
The marketing efforts of expensive advertising agencies would have you believe that sea salt is the healthy alternative to table salt, when it fact the two have the exact same amount of sodium by weight. By making consumers believe sea salt is healthier, companies add a heftier price tag, but unless you prefer the taste, you are wasting your money.
A recent survey conducted by the American Heart Association found that 61 percent of Americans wrongly believe that sea salt is a healthier alternative to table salt because they assume that it is lower in sodium. This false belief is most likely attributed to the successful marketing of sea salt as a more natural alternative to table salt.
In terms of processing, table salt does go through a more rigorous process. Table salt is mined through underground deposits and then is heavily processed to reduce clumping. Many companies also add iodine to salt; however, iodine is a nutrient that is necessary to maintain healthy thyroid functions. Even though table salt is more processed than sea salt, it doesn’t make it any less healthy.
Sea salt production consists of evaporating some form of salt water, whether it is from the ocean or from a salt lake. This process allows for the creator to vary the coarseness and thickness of the final product. The very limited trace elements are what some experts cite to signify sea salt’s nutritional superiority to table salt, but there is almost no evidence to prove that there are ever enough elements to qualify as a contribution to one’s health.
Although there isn’t any evidence to prove nutritional differences between table salt and sea salt, many chefs and consumers prefer the size and texture of sea salt over table salt. This preference could be due to actual taste or more likely the successful marketing and the current trendiness of sea salt for the American public.
Whether you prefer table salt or sea salt, you will receive the same nutritional benefits, but it’s important to limit the amount of sodium you consume daily. The AHA suggests limiting your sodium consumption to less than 1500 mg per day. A diet that contains too much sodium puts you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, or a stroke.