It’s been decades since we started hearing about salt’s damaging effects on our bodies, and it seems salt is only getting less popular as time goes by. Recently, state senators in New York flirted with legislation that would even make it illegal for restaurants to salt their food, treating salt as if it were on par with second-hand cigarette smoke.
Is salt so bad that we need laws to protect us from its effects? Well, you’re reading this on the website of a salt company, so you can probably guess what we think. But being predictable doesn’t mean we’re on the wrong track, so if you have a few minutes, let’s examine the salt myth in context and see what all the fuss is about.
Salt is essential for life
Let’s take a big step away from the salt debate and look at things from a distance. If you are admitted to any modern hospital in the world, chances are very good that one of the first people you meet will be very interested in finding the biggest vein in your arm so they can stick you with a needle and introduce saline solution (salt water) directly into your body. Since hospital workers are generally in the life-preserving and health-improving business, it’s probably safe to assume that salt, itself, is not something we need to keep out of our bodies.
I know, there’s a difference between eating salt and getting an IV, and you’re still wondering whether you can trust a salt company when we tell you salt is good for you. I guess it’s a good time to break out the sources. A 2006 study published in The American Journal of Medicine tells us that “sodium intake of less than 2300 mg (the daily recommended allowance) was associated with a 37% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality and a 28% increase of all-cause mortality.” Mortality is a rather polite word for dying, so in other words, people who consume too little salt are more likely to die than other people. Other peer-reviewed journals have released similar results in 2000, 2004, 2006, and even 1960, and several authors and health experts complain loudly when they hear people dismissing salt. (Scroll down to the bottom for links directly to the reports.)
So why does salt have such a bad reputation? Well, to go back to our hypothetical hospital visit, you can be sure your nurse isn’t simply dumping bleached table salt into the drinking fountain water to prepare those IV bags — hospitals and health care professionals understand that all salt isn’t the same.
All salt is not created equal
Did you know that all salt could technically be considered “sea salt”? Some salt is harvested from current oceans, some from dead seas, and some is mined from ancient sea beds, but the sea is (or was) ultimately the source of all salt. Sea water usually contains more than 60 essential trace minerals, but most salt producers today remove these high-profit minerals and sell them to vitamin manufacturers before selling the remaining salt to you and me to dump on our hash browns.
That would be okay, but when you remove the trace minerals that used to accompany sodium chloride, you typically get a bitter flavor that many producers try to mask with chemicals or even sugar. (Go ahead — grab your salt shaker and read the ingredients. See any dextrose? Yep, that’s sugar!) Even worse, when you consume chemically treated or de-mineralized salt, your body’s mineral balance doesn’t always respond gracefully. When people started consuming chemically altered salts 100 years ago, we started seeing high blood pressure and water retention that had never been associated with salt before. Interestingly enough, our customers tell us these are the same problems that go away when natural salt replaces “table salt” in their diet.
In other words, salt can be bad for your health, but real salt is actually a crucial part of good health! That’s why, more than 50 years ago, we named our brand Real Salt: Your body knows the difference between what is real and what has been chemically altered. Real Salt is salt exactly the way nature made it. You can taste the difference on your tongue, and you can feel a difference in your health.