By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Salt is necessary for life. If you get only some of the salt you need, you will experience serious health problems.
If you do not get a minimum amount of salt, you will die.
Yet salt is vilified and blamed for high blood pressure and other diseases. The idiotic nutritional guidelines issued by the government demand that everybody cut their salt intake substantially. Various city governments are also trying to seriously reduce the amount of salt eaten, even putting restrictions on restaurants.
The studies are inconclusive and often contradictory. Yet no authority bothers to distinguish among the two major kinds of salt:
- Salt as it is found in nature, which comes with dozens of minerals and other substances;
- Industrial salt, which has everything but sodium chloride processed out of the salt.
Natural salt has been used by humans since the beginning of humanity. Industrial salt did not even exist before the twentieth century. But this crucial difference is ignored by a large portion of the medical profession and by the government, which considers all salt to be the same.
There is a great difference between the two salts—in composition, nutrient content, and taste. Natural unrefined salt is greatly superior, in every way but one.
The Two Salts Are Different in Composition and Nutrient Content
Natural, unrefined sea salt contains dozens of trace minerals and other substances.
Industrial salt contains only pure sodium chloride, and chemicals and sweeteners that have been added to make the salt eatable and free-flowing.
When we eat salt, our bodies have evolved to expect all the trace minerals and other substances to come with the salt. When those minerals and substances are not in the salt, our body craves them, and sends out the hunger signal to eat more salt. But no amount of industrial salt will satisfy this craving, because the minerals and other substances are just not there. This craving causes many people to eat too much industrial salt.
Natural, unrefined sea salt contains all the trace minerals and other substances that our bodies have evolved to use when salt is consumed. This kind of salt is very satisfying, and I find that it takes much less natural salt to satisfy my salt hunger.
The Two Salts Are Vastly Different in Taste
Many years ago, my father bought me a subscription to a renowned medical publication. The very first issue contained an article on salt. The author, a scientist with many letters after his name, asserted the following:
All salt, from the cheapest supermarket brand to the most expensive sea salt, is the same.
All salt, from the cheapest supermarket brand to the most expensive sea salt, tastes the same.
I promptly cancelled the subscription to the publication. Why? Because both of those statements were utterly untrue. I knew that the composition of these salts were different just by looking at the content of the salts. I knew the taste was different because I have a tongue.
Unrefined sea salt comes in various forms, which vary in taste, but all of these sea salts taste so much better than industrial salt.
In fact, pure sodium chloride tastes so harsh and bitter that nobody can stand the awful taste. That is why sweeteners and chemicals are added to change the taste. One of the most common additions to industrial salt is—sugar.
Salt Is Refined for Profit and Ease of Use
Why is salt refined? Money. The trace minerals extracted from refined salt are valuable and have many industrial applications.
Industrial salt is much cheaper. That is why industrial salt is used in most processed foods.
The other reason is convenience. Unrefined salt tends to clump together, and not flow freely. The user must break up the clumps to use the salt. Industrial refined salt flows freely and easily, because it has chemicals added to make it so.
I would much rather deal with salt clumps than eat industrial salt.
I only use unrefined sea salt for cooking and seasoning. I have two reasons: I believe my body has evolved to use salt in its natural form with the trace minerals, and unrefined sea salt has a much better flavor.
Some people have asked why Tender Grassfed Meat uses only unrefined sea salt in the recipes. The answer is that unrefined sea salt tastes so much better.
Disclaimer: I should mention that I am not a doctor or a scientist, and I am not advising anybody on the safety or usage of salt, or what salt, or what amount of salt to eat. I am merely describing my understanding of the differences, and my personal reasons for only using unrefined sea salt.
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