7

votes

Confused about what salt to use

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 06, 2012 at 3:39 AM

I'm very confused about what kind of salt is the healthiest. For a while I've been using real salt brand, which is a Himalayan salt with specks of pink in it. However, after reading some of Ray Peat's writings I was alerted to the fact that there is a high content of iron in these types of salts (the cause of the pink coloring) and they can cause iron overload, especially in men. I did a quick calculation a while back and determined that it wouldn't be too difficult to exceed the RDA for iron by consuming this salt. I've been meaning to redo this calculation to double check my work and post the results.

Peat also says that the coloring in Celtic Sea salt is from dirt, not minerals, and I've heard others talk of pollution and heavy metal contamination in various salts. Peat doesn't talk a whole lot about it, but I found reference to the fact that he uses Morton's canning salt. He doesn't say it, but I'm guessing his thinking is that he gets plenty of minerals from other sources and he'd prefer to get his sodium from a clean source.

I think a lot of people just assume that the less refined and more colorful salts are healthier because of the mineral content. I'm really beginning to wonder if this is true. Like everything, I think we really can't make generalizations here just because something is natural and need to consider some of the following when evaluating salts.

What minerals are actually in the salt, are they in a useful form and a proper amount?
Are there any pollutants, heavy metals, or other undesirable substances in the salt?
Have any additives, such as anti caking agents or iodine, been added?
How was the salt processed?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 06, 2012
at 06:17 PM

My vote is for this salt too...I've used it for over a year. It eliminates some of the effects of carb flu in the beginning.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I used to hate the taste of table salt, but loved the lite salt. The two times I had my blood tested I was low in both sodium and potassium, so I'm guessing that's why the KCl+NaCl salt tasted better to me. As for whether someone should include salt in their diet or not, it depends on their individual biochemistry. I completely agree with you that lowering sodium without a reason could be harmful.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 05:25 PM

Since whe did red meat become unhealthy again or is that a paleo insider joke?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 05:24 PM

Nobody has to sign their life up to only Himalayan or only Celtic salt or whatever. If somebody is worried that one may contain too much dirt or that another contains too much iron, have a selection in the cupboard and rotate through them. It probably works out healthier in the long run anyway

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I think I'm in agreement with you about the packaged foods. I can't see many people getting themselves into much trouble with salt if they are the only person adding the salt to their food. I think it's when the food is coming out of a factory that you have to be more careful.

8838443ac82e9f98e4ae9daf80d50eb5

(896)

on January 06, 2012
at 03:54 PM

RealSalt is the best! We've also been using it for years. Once you taste it, you'll never want any other stuff because regular table salt will taste like chlorine.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 06, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Salt is really poor source of minerals. A gulp of mineral water would be way more.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on January 06, 2012
at 07:44 AM

Check this site out for mineral content of pink sea salt: http://www.saltnews.com/chemical-analysis-natural-himalayan-pink-salt/

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 06, 2012
at 07:40 AM

Is the iron in salt really gonna be the problem when compared with all of the red meat many of us consume?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 06, 2012
at 07:38 AM

Whole foods sells kelp granules, which can be used like salt (sprinkled on food) and gives you a ton of iodine

787a8ae6ce5825309bbe0ca2559d4533

(165)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:06 AM

Yes, I've seen the mineral analysis provided by RealSalt. That's where I got the information no iron content to estimate the amount of iron I was getting daily from the salt.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:51 AM

Iodine is important and helps prevent goiter, but the Real Salt has plenty and most multivitamins have enough to cover our daily needs. According to Whole Foods, seaweed, yogurt, milk, eggs, strawberries, and cheese are also relatively high in iodine.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:43 AM

also - http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/dont-hold-the-salt-attempts-to-curb-sodium-intake-are-misguided/250712/

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8 Answers

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I use Iodized lite salt. Why? Potassium. People on lower carb diets especially need it.

By the way, I saw something on facebook yesterday about low salt diets raising mortality by 500%. And there is a lot of talk about this on the interwebs as well. Needlessly lowering sodium intake is more harmful than good.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I used to hate the taste of table salt, but loved the lite salt. The two times I had my blood tested I was low in both sodium and potassium, so I'm guessing that's why the KCl+NaCl salt tasted better to me. As for whether someone should include salt in their diet or not, it depends on their individual biochemistry. I completely agree with you that lowering sodium without a reason could be harmful.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 06, 2012
at 06:17 PM

My vote is for this salt too...I've used it for over a year. It eliminates some of the effects of carb flu in the beginning.

3
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:59 AM

Have you seen the mineral analysis provided by RealSalt? http://www.realsalt.com/media/files/realsalt_analysis.pdf

I don't have any hard proof, but I've used RealSalt for a couple of years; I like and trust them.

I can't speak to the iron issue, hopefully someone else can address that, as I'm curious as well. I pretty much live on grass fed beef and broccoli, with Real Salt on most meals; I think if anyone is a prime candidate it would be me.

In response to the iodine issue:

Sea vegetables provide quite a bit of iodine, personally I crumble a few nori sheets over a salad a couple times a week, and substitute raw dulse flakes for salt on my veges also a couple times a week. 1/4 tsp of kelp granules or dulse flakes provides something like 220% of the RDA (which is 150mcg.) Using an iodine fortified refined salt shouldn't be necessary unless you absolutely can't stand sea veges and don't eat yogurt.

787a8ae6ce5825309bbe0ca2559d4533

(165)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:06 AM

Yes, I've seen the mineral analysis provided by RealSalt. That's where I got the information no iron content to estimate the amount of iron I was getting daily from the salt.

8838443ac82e9f98e4ae9daf80d50eb5

(896)

on January 06, 2012
at 03:54 PM

RealSalt is the best! We've also been using it for years. Once you taste it, you'll never want any other stuff because regular table salt will taste like chlorine.

1
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 06, 2012
at 02:11 PM

I can't believe that you would be adding enough salt regularly for it to matter. The processing is the only thing I'd be concerned about, I'd rather they didn't add things to the salt crystals. But everything 'natural' probably has some good and bad in it, and my body is quite well equipped to handle that without me lugging a spectroscope down to the salt pans.

1
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:40 AM

I was told a while back to eat iodised salt, as our diets are too low in iodine. Don't know if this is true, someone with more knowledge please chip in.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 06, 2012
at 07:38 AM

Whole foods sells kelp granules, which can be used like salt (sprinkled on food) and gives you a ton of iodine

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:43 AM

also - http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/dont-hold-the-salt-attempts-to-curb-sodium-intake-are-misguided/250712/

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:51 AM

Iodine is important and helps prevent goiter, but the Real Salt has plenty and most multivitamins have enough to cover our daily needs. According to Whole Foods, seaweed, yogurt, milk, eggs, strawberries, and cheese are also relatively high in iodine.

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:20 PM

I use a mixture of Mayan Sea Salt, Vancouver Island Sea Salt, Kosher salt, and Iodized salt. They are all different grains and flavours, so I just suit it to the dish I'm making. I wouldn't worry about it crazy much, just vary it, use each in moderation. The other minerals in salts are pretty trace, so they are not your ultimate mineral source, and I wouldn't worry about overdosing on anything. If you are the one adding salt to your food, even if you salt "properly" and generously, it will still be peanuts compared to processed food.

0
B5dfdfc4b6b7bda990a5301ea59937ea

(-1)

on April 14, 2012
at 04:01 PM

If of any interest to you, as of last year I finally found Himalayan Pink salt and use it exclusively now. The trouble for me was that after years of seeing a trend whereby I'd eat a salty food or even just a few grains of refined sea or rock salt and 25-30 minutes later I would yawning my head off and wanting to sleep. This happened in particular with heavily processed foods. Guaranteed. I couldn't find any other than one reference on the internet which alluded to some people can't process the chemicals used in table and other refined salts to make them white and anti-clogging. I guess it's similar to when one eats a huge meal and the blood drains to one's stomach in order to process the food resulting in tiredness and lethargy. I'm not a heavy salt user but an quite frankly overjoyed that I don't now have to over compensate with coffee in an attempt to balance the salt issue. It's helped me enormously - as to the additional minerals and iron - got to be better than the crap they put in table salt. Many believe it to be truly evil. I've lost 3 stone in 3 months, gone through the cold feelings mentioned elsewhere on the site and also seen it help the heavy night sweats I used to suffer from. I also have a low 'boiling point' and sweat buckets because my body temp is very sensitive to fluctuations. It has been suggested this can be accredited to Aspergers Syndrome with which I have recently been diagnosed. I am apparently just over the cusp of the spectrum but it could explain why I have had the lifelong temperature issues I do as well as why I do not have a sense of hunger. I have literally just found this site and am intrigued by other paleo concepts. All the best.

0
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:11 PM

Eat the salt that tastes best to you, and switch when it stops tasting as good. If they all taste the same to you, then I think it may not matter too much since the differences are minimal, anyway.

0
Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 06, 2012
at 05:06 AM

I think it comes back to the old adage "Everything in moderation" -- there's a world of difference between cooking with a pinch of salt here-and-there and the sheer quantities of sodium per serving in modern packaged foods.

Most of the Paleo/Primal variations agree on limiting or eliminating salt and I've found it takes as little as a week for my body to adjust to the taste of food without salt. Before I started playing with Paleo, a change as simple as switching from salted butter to extra virgin olive oil on my morning toast made an amazing difference.

On the other hand, salt does have its place and (as The Atlantic from Peter mentions) salt plays an important part in any chef's repertoire allowing all sorts of interesting chemical reactions, everything from a simple flavor enhancer (a tiny pinch of salt to a sweet dessert makes it taste that much sweeter) to developing a really nice seared crust on a piece of steak to creating a barrier to hold in moisture in a salt-baked fish to kickstarting the fermentation process in cabbage creating exquisite sauerkraut and kimchi.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I think I'm in agreement with you about the packaged foods. I can't see many people getting themselves into much trouble with salt if they are the only person adding the salt to their food. I think it's when the food is coming out of a factory that you have to be more careful.

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