The Nutritional Death of Sea Salt

by Eliza Ward

The inconvenient truth is that making true, natural sea salt the old fashioned way is both time consuming and expensive. So, as food production became more industrialized and the desire for standardization and consistency grew, as well as the focus on decreasing costs, so went the way of natural sea salt production. After all, natural sea salt was rife with batch inconsistencies, regional variations, availability uncertainties, and “impurities”. Additionally, making great quantities and transporting it great distances was difficult, labor intensive, and expensive. And, if you asked the average consumer

about salt, you would undoubtedly hear, "Why did we need natural sea salt anyway? What's wrong with Kosher salt?"

The art of the deal

But the artisan techniques for producing quality sea salt involve more than just finding ways to deal with the climate and topography and salt water sources of northern Europe, or of whatever other locale the salt is being made. They also involve a combination of maximizing flavor and trace elements and trace minerals, as well as achieving a specific desired texture or color – the total sum of which make up the final taste and nutritional make-up of a specific sea salt. Each sea salt has its own complex combination of sea, land, climate, labor and artistry which creates a unique composition, shape, color and taste – so, each has the specific DNA of the salt maker encoded deep within it – just like balsamic vinegar or estate olive oil or wine or chocolate - it's THAT complex.

The unfortunate reality is that, as natural sea salt production waned, so has our access to many of the trace minerals we need as humans, and so has our access to overall good health – especially good heart health. Our need for salt is clearly understood – in fact, you can live indefinitely without just about every other food group on the planet, but you can’t live without salt. What’s not so clear to so many consumers, and what’s a source of so much confusion, is that salt and sodium chloride are NOT the same thing. Once you have refined sea salt to its bare essential – sodium chloride – it is, for all intents and purposes, nutritionally dead and relatively valueless to us humans today. Why? Because, there is one thing we get plenty of in our diet today it's sodium chloride.

See next article: Not All Sea Salts are Created Equal

See prior article: Brief History of Sea Salt

 

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