Posh salt just as bad for your blood pressure as ordinary salt 1 December 2011
Stroke Foundation media release 1 December 2011
Consumers who choose ‘gourmet’ salt should beware claims that it is healthier than ordinary table salt, according to information recently issued by the UK’s Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH). According to a survey by the UK consumer magazine Which? nearly a quarter (24%) of gourmet salt buyers believed it was healthier than table salt, and 39% thought it was ‘more natural’.
The packaging and websites of some gourmet salt brands in New Zealand emphasise their ‘natural’ qualities, invoke New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ image, and cite the presence of other minerals with ‘beneficial effects on the body’. All salt, however, whether it is flaky sea salt, rock salt or plain table salt, is made up of about 97% sodium chloride and therefore contains exactly the same amount of sodium, an excess intake of which can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Stroke Foundation of NZ CEO Mark Vivian said: “Salt is salt, and too much of it raises your risk of stroke. Most of us eat too much salt already simply because it is added to so much processed food. Any implication that gourmet salt is better for you than other kinds is utterly misleading. Far better to increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, cut down on processed foods and avoid adding salt to your cooking or at the table. You’ll soon get used to the taste and never miss it.”
Many of the ‘healthy’ minerals listed in gourmet salts are present in such small quantities that they would have almost no impact on a person’s recommended dietary intake (RDI). The maximum recommended daily consumption of 6g of salt of a ‘gourmet’ brand might contain, for example, about 4milligrams of calcium, or 0.004% of the adult RDI of 1000mg. In contrast a single 250ml glass of ordinary whole milk would deliver 30% or 300mg.
“Since some gourmet salts cost upwards of $40 per kilo, while ordinary table salt can be bought for around $1.70 a kilo, eating too much gourmet salt in the belief that it is better for you could simply be a very expensive way of killing yourself quicker,” said Vivian.
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