March 24, 2014
I eat a lot of salt.
On most days, I eat 2-3 teaspoons a day sprinkled over food or into smoothies, soups and salads – and on days that I sweat heavily, visit the sauna, or sleep on my infrared Biomat – I often increase my salt intake to up to 6 teaspoons per day.
That's kinda drastic, considering the CDC recommends sticking to about 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of salt per day, maximum.
So why do I eat so darn much salt?
In the article Is That Grain Of Salt Really Killing Your Insides?, I give four reasons for my salt fanaticism, including:
1. There is zero evidence to support a drastic reduction in sodium intake.
2. Reducing sodium intake can have unintended health risks.
3. Your total potassium levels and your “sodium to potassium ratio” are what is actually important for heart health.
4. Big food industry’s interpretation of public health recommendations to reduce sodium intake can have a dangerous impact.
I'd highly recommend you go read that article to delve into the details of each of those four reasons listed above.
In this article, you're going to discover the truth behind “healthy” kosher salt and commercial sea salt, how to tell if your salt is refined, and what kind of salt you should be eating.
You may have heard how “sea salt” is better for you than regular, refined table salt – but what about kosher salt?
The term “kosher salt” comes from its use in making meats kosher by removing surface blood. So in truth, nearly all salt is kosher salt, including ordinary, refined table salt.
Kosher salt is usually manufactured with a grain size larger than table salt grains – and is otherwise completely identical to refined table salt. Rather than cubic crystals, kosher salt has a flat platelet shape. Salt crystals are forced into this shape under pressure, or grown flat in an evaporative process. Then the kosher salt is dried in order to absorb the moisture in koshering and allow the salt to flow freely.
This is why most big brand kosher salts you see in the store are refined – and they taste like it too.
What that means is:
Kosher salt (and most other commercial sea salts) have had all minerals and moisture stripped away (see table to the left for all the minerals not found in Kosher and commercial sea salts).
Kosher salt (and most other commercial sea salts) manufacturers use sulfuric acid and chlorine to bleach the salt white.
Kosher salt (and most other commercial sea salts) are made in a way so that it is an impossibly high 99.7% “purity”.
Now, you may be wondering – what’s wrong with “99.7% purity”? Isn’t that good?
Not really. When you strip salt of its minerals and then you eat it, your body doesn’t “get it”. Refined salt is toxic without its minerals. It’s unnatural. So your body treats it like a foreign substance, generating all the health issues I talked about in my last article on salt.
Ironically, salt manufacturers would actually make salt 100% pure but that last .03% is for the anti-caking agents. That’s the stuff that makes table salt flow out of your saltshaker.
The problem is that anti-caking agents are essentially heavy metals – which are extremely toxic to your body. Just take a look at their names: sodium ferrocyanide, ammonium citrate and aluminum silicate (did you notice the poison “cyanide” and the chemical people clean bathrooms with, “ammonia”?)
Why do the big name salt makers do this? In two words: “shelf life.” In one word: “profit.”
What’s more, the FDA allows them to have as much as 2% of your table salt be comprised of anti-caking and free-flowing agents! But that’s not all – the worst part is that some of them have caught on to America’s “health craze” and now put the “sea salt” healthy label on their boxes.
However, this is all just a marketing ploy. Commercial “sea salt” may come from the sea, but ultimately it has been refined just as much as regular table salt.
In contrast, real, unrefined salt is moist, soft and clumpy. Sure, this is inconvenient for our modern salt-shakers and fancy store bought tubes and canisters – but ultimately, if your salt isn't moist, soft and clumpy, you shouldn't be eating it.
So how else can you tell if your salt is unhealthy and refined?
How To Tell If Your Salt Is Refined
There are three simple salt tests you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Test #1: Look At The Salt.
Is the salt an unnatural, perfect uniform white? If so, it was probably chemically bleached in some way. Natural salt has an off-white color due to the trace minerals found in it.
Test #2: Shake It Out.
Is the salt fine and free flowing? If it comes out of a saltshaker effortlessly, it’s safe to assume the salt was processed with anti-caking agents. Real salt is moist, soft, and doesn't pour when it rains.
Test #3: Is It Sold In A Box Or Tube?
Salts sold in a cardboard box or tube are dry and probably have had anti-caking agents added so that the salt won’t absorb moisture and ruin the package.
The truth is that most big brand salts in the store are indeed refined and won't pass those three tests above.
What Kind Of Salt You Should Be Eating
So if our body needs salt to live, but table salt, commercial “sea salt” and even koshering salt has toxins in it…what’s left?
We go back to how salt was made 150 years ago – before it became industrialized.
We eat unrefined sea salt made the way it was meant to be.
Now, you may be thinking that “unrefined sea salt” means gourmet, expensive and hard-to-get, but the fact is that I keep my pantry chock full of silver and black bags of AztecSeaSalt.
This salt comes from La Laguna de Cuyutlán – the same place in Meixco where the Aztecs got their salt over 500 years ago. Traditional salineros (salt farmers) continue to harvest this salt using an organic, 100% renewable process (evaporated naturally by the sun) to protect the environment and wildlife.
Yes, it's slightly “off-color”.
Yes, it's soft, it's moist and it clumps.
And yes, it tastes far different than any other salt. It literally explodes with flavor.
But I know when I'm eating this stuff that it I'm avoiding toxins, I'm avoiding chemicals, I'm eating clean, real stuff and I'm getting over 80 trace minerals for metabolic function, adrenal recovery and athletic performance.
If you want to dig into the nitty-gritty science or go read the details on AztecanSeaSalt, you can click here to study up on the actual minerals, the ethical harvesting process, and more of the truth behind Kosher salt and commercial sea salt.
In the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below and I'll be happy to answer.