Q. "I often hear people raving about gourmet salts, such as pink salt and rock salt. Are these better for you than regular salt?"
David, Parkville, VIC
A. Accredited Practising Dietitian Brooke Longfield says:
Food companies do a good job of marketing gourmet salts as something special, but no matter how pretty the packet, salt is salt. Fancy varieties, which include rock salt, sea salt and pink salt, contain the same amount of sodium as basic table salt — and as we know, eating too much of any kind of salt has a detrimental effect on our blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
People often say that gourmet salts’ strong taste enables them to use only a sprinkling. In fact, the opposite might be true. Gourmet salts’ crystals are usually larger than table salt’s grains, so you can easily end up using even more.
The labels on gourmet salts often sport the word natural in an attempt to convince us they’re good for our health. This is totally misleading because, technically, all salt is natural: Table salt is just a more refined version of sea salt or rock salt. And although pink salt owes its colour to trace minerals such as potassium, it doesn’t have enough to provide any significant benefit to your health.
In short, gourmet or not, all salts affect our health in the same negative way — and the average Australian is already shaking up to nine times the recommended amount into his or her diet.