Prepared Foods October 17, 2005 e-newsletter

Research conducted in Britain has warned that people who switch to sea or rock salt instead of ordinary salt in the belief that it is better for their health are sadly mistaken.

The advocacy group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said that, while consumers were aware that too much salt in their diet was harmful, they were also of the belief that sea or rock salt was somehow "better" than ordinary table salt.

The group partly attributed the belief to the widespread use of sea and rock salt by influential TV chefs, most of whom advocate healthy eating.

Market research showed that, while overall sales of salt had dropped, sales of sea and rock salt had risen, with a significant number of people questioned saying they purchased the different salt "for health reasons."

Scientists, however, warned that sodium and its effect on heart and arteries causes high blood pressure -- no matter what the type of salt.

They reiterated the advice that cutting down on salt can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes and warned that no brand of salt containing sodium is safer or healthier than another.

"There is no nutritional benefit to rock, sea salt or organic salt. They all have the same amount of sodium," said Dr. Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health research at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge.