Photo: Flickr/Happy Krissy
With salty diets making a comeback, people are inevitably turning to expensive gourmet sea salt.But it is worth it?
The short answer is no.
Although sea salt is often marketed as more natural or healthy, it is still just sodium chloride. Both salts types are “natural”: sea salt just comes from the sea, while table salt comes from underground deposits.
“Basically this is all marketing,” Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History, told NPR. “Sea sounds a lot better than rock [salt]. But if the product is pure, it is the same.”
The differences between the two are texture and processing. Iodized table salt has added iodine, with other minerals removed. An additive to prevent clumping is also sometimes added, to get the “when it rains it pours” effect (did you know that idiom came from the Morton Salt motto?)
In areas of the world far from seashores — like the Great Lakes and the Pacific northwest — iodine isn’t present in food in high levels, so iodine was added to table salt in the 1920s to treat iodine deficiency and the thyroid problems and large neck growths called goiters that come along with it. Without iodine in salt, these health problems could reemerge.
Slight traces of other inedible minerals give some sea salts their colours, and possibly a slight change in flavour, but these minerals don’t have health impacts because they are present in such tiny amounts.
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