I know that I’ve ranted about the confusion surrounding sea salt before but I think it bears repeating.
Chatelaine magazine has all these little tips at the bottom of each page and in a recent issue one read: “Season with sea salt – it has way less sodium than table salt.” No wonder people are confused! There are advertisments for french fries stating that they’re seasoned with sea salt, implying that makes them healthier than other fries (of course, there are other health concerns with excessive fry consumption besides the sodium content). Then messages like the one in Chatelaine are appearing in the media.
To be clear, there is very little difference between the sodium content of table salt and the sodium content of sea salt. Table salt contains 593 mg of sodium in 1/4 teaspoon. Sea salt contains 510 mg of sodium in 1/4 teaspoon. Yes, it appears that there is slightly more sodium in the table salt. However, for the package of sea salt I was looking at 1/4 teaspoon was equivalent to 1.3 grams while the 1/4 teaspoon of table salt was equivalent to 1.5 grams. That means, gram for gram, table salt contains 395.33 mg and sea salt contains 392.31 mg. So, does table salt contain way more sodium than sea salt? Nope. They’re pretty similar. Keeping in mind that this is relying on labels and the Canadian Nutrient Data File, neither of which are renowned for accuracy. I think if you were going to make any sort of claim about sea salt and sodium, the correct scientific wording would be: sea salt may contain an itsy bitsy teeny weeny little bit less sodium than table salt.