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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Q: Doesn't sea salt have a higher concentration of potassium chloride than regular salt?

Doesn't sea salt have a higher proportion of potassium chloride (KCl), so although still a "salt", it will have a lower concentration of sodium proper?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

This is another in a great series of questions about the properties of sea salt.

The answer appears to be no. I found one analysis report on sea salt that puts the potassium content at 0.19%. Keep in mind that there are differences in weight of the minerals and sodium molecules weigh less than chloride molecules. Potassium is a little heavier than both but not so much as to overcome the analysis of less than 1% potassium content in sea salt.

Interestingly, in my research on this I did find confirmation that there is a lower percentage of sodium in sea salt than in pure sodium chloride. It appears, however, to be mostly the result of a higher moisture content in the sea salt and not through the weight of other minerals. So it may be not only the irregularly shaped crystals that lead to a lower sodium content by volume but also the added moisture that results in a lower sodium content by weight.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet