Although championed by celebrity chefs, new research from Which? and CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health) shows that ‘gourmet’ salts such as rock salt and sea salt are no healthier than common table salt.
Sea and rock salt contain the same amount of sodium chloride as table salt and so have the same harmful effect on health.
Take health claims with a pinch of salt
Packaging for rock and sea salt carries claims that the products are ‘natural’, ‘contain minerals’ and offer a ‘tastier and healthier alternative’ to table salt.
And 28% of Which? members believe rock and sea salt is healthier than table and cooking salt – it isn’t.
Reducing salt improves health
The UK population consumes around 8.6g salt a day. Cutting this to 6g a day would significantly reduce the number of cases of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Diets high in salt are also linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.
Professor Graham McGregor, Chairman of CASH says: ‘Reducing salt intake by 1g per day is predicted to prevent over 6000 deaths from stroke and heart attacks a year’.
Sea salt can cost up to 19 times more
46% of Which? members who buy salt think it’s worth paying the extra for rock and sea salt but they can cost up to 19 times more than table salt.
Cornish Sea Salt costs £7.10 per kg compared to Saxa Table Salt at £0.80 per kg and Tesco Table Salt at £0.36 per kg.
Which? chief policy adviser, Sue Davies says: ‘Given that most of the salt we eat is hidden – it’s already in the food we buy – the cheapest and healthiest option would be to stop adding extra salt to our food altogether.’
Which? is calling on food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their foods, and will be monitoring their progress over the coming months.
Ideas and tips on how to keep your salt intake low when eating out
Join our Which? conversation on reformulation of your favourite foods
Add your comments on calorie labelling on restaurant menus