Dietary Salt – How the Origin of Salt Can Lower Sodium Content and Still Enhance Flavor

Food companies are working diligently to decrease the total amount of salt in their products without risking present flavor profiles, but the job was a tough one. Still, there may be a tasteful way outside. With the latest marketing of regional ocean additives for industrial usage, businesses could have the ability to keep or even enhance flavor notes and boost mineral content when decreasing overall sodium content.

The Mayo Clinic estimates that 77 percent of their salt from the typical American diet comes from processed or prepared foods, along with the American Medical Association has called on the FDA to control the quantity of salt in processed goods. But controversy over if salt is saintly or bad isn’t fresh, and actually, a specific quantity of salt in the diet is great.

Back to Basics

Salt comes in three basic forms: refined, unrefined and iodized. Refined salt most often comes from rock salt and loses most of its minerals during processing, which results in almost pure sodium chloride. Unrefined salt usually comes from seawater, but in some cases it can be obtained from rock salt. Iodized salt is typically sodium chloride that has been processed with potassium iodide for nutrient fortification. Many iodized salts may also contain anti-caking agents.

Though, there is no evidence that the additives in table salt are harmful, people who favor foods with fewer additives often prefer infused sea salt, which contain minerals that iodized table salt does not contain, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfate, and traces of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, as well as strontium. The mineral content varies by region, but the result is that it contains about 40 percent to as much as 57 percent less sodium than traditional refined salt. “Sea salt isn’t a fad,” says Mark Zoske, founder of SaltWorks, Inc., which distributes premium salts to wholesale and consumer markets. “Its usage is a paradigm change. Consumers don’t want elegant salts in their meals, and much more producers are getting that message clear and loud.”

Is Nature the New Technology?

Food companies are marketing products with unrefined sea salt in response to consumer demand for more natural products. Sea salt is among the natural ingredients included in Clif Mojo Bars introduced in May 2008. Also in May 2008, Whole Foods Market launched a mushroom soup featuring this ingredient. Soy Dream uses sea salt in its frozen non-dairy products, and Amy’s Kitchen, Stouffer’s and McCormick’s sell products containing sea salt as well.

Even more appealing are unrefined regional sea salts. They offer the minerals specific to the location of origin and pair perfectly with regional dishes. With as many as 30 naturally occurring mineral components, regional sea salts offer variety to discerning consumers. Saltworks’ Zoske states that all those 30-plus sea salt sorts his firm carries has a special colour, mineral cosmetics, density, crystalline structure, and taste. “Average table salt can add a predictable tang to a meal-natural sea salt can transform the taste of a dish, conjuring up subtle flavors and bold connotations.”