All About Salt: Sodium

I just finished sharing some information over on the N.E.W. Motivation Coaching Facebook page about salt and decided to post the information and links to the videos here.

Myth or Fact? Sea Salt has less sodium than Table Salt?

First up, we addressed a great question we hear from our clients a lot – does sea salt have less sodium than table salt.

This is such a confusing topic and I’ll share with you why this is so confusing.

One reason is there are nutritional differences in the different types of salts which is due to the source of the salt and how it is processed.

Sea salt comes, of course, from the sea and is typically processed through evaporation, meaning the food manufacturer takes the water away and what is left is your sea salt. Because of this processing, it has different minerals than table salt and may contain potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals.

Table salt typically comes from salt mines and is stripped of minerals during processing but… typically it comes with added iodine since we used to have a pretty big goiter problem back in 1920s and this is how the powers that be decided to fix the problem. Nutritionally, 1 teaspoon of table salt has no calories and has very small traces of minerals found in sea salt. If you look at the label for table salt, you may see additives. Typically, calcium silicate is in there to prevent clumping and potassium iodide is the vehicle to get the iodine in salt.

But the big question is: DOES SEA SALT HAVE LESS SODIUM?

Slide1-less-sodium

And the answer is YES… and NO!

Oh, don’t you hate that! Well, this will help. Here’s why:

By weight, sea salt does NOT have less sodium than table salt!

However… by volume (when you grab a pinch or use a measuring spoon), sea salt HAS less sodium!

This is because sea salt – and kosher salt – usually has larger crystals so less fits in a spoon due to how the crystals fall against each other leaving little pockets of air in between them. Table salt is very fine and so there are no little pockets of air as the granules nest next to each other.

To compare:

  • 1 teaspoon of table salt has 2325 mg of sodium
  • 1 tsp of sea salt has between 1200 – 2360 mg
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt has between 2000 – 2360 mg

So it really all depends on how those little salt crystals settle.

Hopefully, now it makes a little more sense to you.

So… which one should you choose?

Well, Salt is a flavor enhancer which means it brings out the flavors and makes food more delicious. So, yeah, use a little salt when you cook!

Salt is also important in baking since baking is pretty much just a delicious form of chemistry so it is important to be precise to get good baked goods. For baking, follow the recipe to decide which type of salt to use.

For other cooking, professional and home chefs tend to prefer larger crystals but if you need the salt to dissolve a smaller crystal would be a better choice.

When it comes down to the nutrition, there is not much difference between the different types of salt and there are no magical health and healing properties in the more expensive or organic salts. However, the trace minerals or other fancy things that may be added to the more expensive salts may change the flavor.

In the end, choose whichever type of salt you prefer that best fits your budget.

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