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Salt Substitutes: Healthier Than Salt?

Limiting sodium is one way to eat healthier, especially if you're concerned with preventing high-blood pressure. It is a small comfort that some sodium is actually necessary for our bodies to function normally. It helps maintain the right balance of fluids in our bodies, helps transmits nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles. All this being said, the daily recommended intake of sodium is equal to about one teaspoon, 2,300 mg. I'm not talking about added salt; I'm talking about total salt intake. That isn't very much, considering that 75 percent of the salt you eat comes from processed foods and meat.

Some people turn to salt substitutes such as No Salt or Also Salt. Regular salt is Sodium Chloride and these salt substitutes are Potassium Chloride. According to the Mayo Clinic, using these in moderation is fine, but getting too much added potassium can be harmful if you have kidney problems, or if you're taking certain medications for congestive heart failure or high-blood pressure that cause potassium retention.

Also, you've got to read labels on these salt substitutes carefully, since some of them still contain sodium chloride (salt), but in smaller amounts. You may end up using more of the salt substitute to achieve the salty taste you crave, so in the end, you'll be consuming just as much sodium.

Fit's Tips: Truthfully, I think salt substitutes taste like bitter chemicals, and they have a very weak salty taste. So when I crave salt I use the real deal, but I try to add as little as possible. I also season my food with herbs and spices to give it more flavor so I'm less likely to need added salt.

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ashlee683 ashlee683 8 years
spectra- thats hilarious! I love how once you tell someone they can't do something like that they immediately want to --like the gallon challenge.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I very rarely ever use salt...
wren1 wren1 8 years
My dad used to use this when I was young, and I always thought it was gross. I agree with geohiker--I use sea salt and get lots of saltiness with just a little sprinkle.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Ugh, salt substitutes are gross. Your taste buds are really only programmed to pick up sodium, so they try to use potassium to "trick" your taste buds into thinking you're eating salt. Why not just try using lemon juice or herbs or Mrs. Dash? Oh, funny story about salt: One of my husband's friends told him you can't eat a spoonful of plain salt. He told me this and I said "Yeah, if you do, you'll throw up". So he of course did and 10 minutes later he was in the bathroom throwing up. So there's a warning for you...if anyone dares you to do that, just say no.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Ugh, salt substitutes are gross. Your taste buds are really only programmed to pick up sodium, so they try to use potassium to "trick" your taste buds into thinking you're eating salt. Why not just try using lemon juice or herbs or Mrs. Dash? Oh, funny story about salt: One of my husband's friends told him you can't eat a spoonful of plain salt. He told me this and I said "Yeah, if you do, you'll throw up". So he of course did and 10 minutes later he was in the bathroom throwing up. So there's a warning for you...if anyone dares you to do that, just say no.
ashlee683 ashlee683 8 years
That's really misleading naming that product "No salt" cause its not. Its not a salt substitute its just a different kind of salt. If anything its a sodium subsitute.
geohiker geohiker 8 years
I like salt sometimes, but try to use some of the "fancier" salts - sea salt, flavored salts - so I can use just a little and still feel like I am getting some good flavor.
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