Iodized Salt vs. Sea Salt
What is the difference between iodized salt and sea salt? The principal differences between the two types of salt is in its taste, their texture, and in the production and processing of the substances, which can be found in a number of places all over the world.
Sea salt is produced through the evaporation of ocean and sea water or the evaporation of water from saltwater lakes. There is usually very little processing involved with sea salt. Depending on the water source, there are certain minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other nutrients that are left behind. These various minerals are gathered and processed with little effort. The minerals, though, add flavor and color to sea salt. It is coarser and grainier than the iodized salt because it undergoes less processing.
Iodized salt, which is better known as table salt, is typically mined from underground salt deposits and is processed into finer crystals. It is heavily processed in order to eliminate minerals, and there is usually an additive that is included to prevent clumping. The salt crystal is fine, giving it a finer texture, making it is easier to use in recipes and other food items. The processing strips iodized salt of any minerals it may have contained. Most iodized salt has iodine added to it, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid. The one thing that sea salt does not have is the added iodine, which is noted on labeling. Currently, most Americans get plenty of iodine in their diets, and as a result, sea salt has gained favor for its taste and texture more so than its nutritional value.
Although surveys have suggested that sea salt has lower sodium content, they are quite comparable. Iodized salt and sea salt both contain about 40% sodium by weight. A difference, though, is in the size of the grains of salt. Because sea salt is a larger and coarser grain of salt, there are less grains of salt in a tablespoon of sea salt than there are in a tablespoon of iodized salt. More grains of iodized salt are in a tablespoon resulting in more sodium content, not because each grain of salt is higher in sodium, but because of the difference in the size or the grain itself. A teaspoon of iodized salt has about 2,300 mg of sodium, but a teaspoon of sea salt has less sodium because fewer crystals fit into the spoon.
Because sea salt has a coarse, crunchy texture and a stronger flavor than iodized salt, it has become more popular in restaurants and with chefs. Many manufacturers are using sea salt rather than iodized salt in items such as potato chips and crackers because it is all natural and has less processed additives. Even though people may not use it for its nutritional value, sea salt is perceived as a healthier choice for those who add salt to their diets.
In conclusion, the greatest difference between iodized salt and sea salt is in the processing. While iodized salt is processed in salt mines, sea salt is processed directly from salt waters. Although a teaspoon of iodized salt is finer and has more sodium by volume, technically sea salt contains the same percentage of sodium when measured by weight. Sea salt is the choice for healthier diets and people are using it more, but the most significant difference is the texture. Even though there are a few differences, most health professionals agree that regardless of a person's choice, seas salt and iodized salt should be used sparingly.
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