What’s in Morton Iodized Salt? There are four ingredients: salt, calcium silicate, sugar, and potassium iodide. Morton uses the sciencey name dextrose for sugar, but dextrose is sugar. The amount of sugar in your salt is too small to trigger sugar cravings, but isn’t it troubling to find sugar showing up in your salt!
Let’s review the ingredients to understand what they are and why they are present.
Salt is a mineral and the world’s most common food seasoning. I add salt to almost everything I cook. Chris Kresser has written about salt extensively lately. Click here for part 1 and part 2 of his series.
The second ingredient is calcium silicate (an anticaking agent). Wikipedia explains, “A white free-flowing powder derived from limestone and diatomaceous earth, calcium silicate has no known adverse effects to health. It is used in roads, insulation, bricks, roof tiles, table salt and occurs in cements, where it is known as belite (or in cement chemist notation C2S).” I get it. Calcium silicate is rock dust and it helps keep salt from forming clumps and helps it flow out of a carton or shaker easily. I’m actually okay with eating a little dirt.
Postassium iodide is the fourth ingredient. According to the Salt Institute, “Modern salt plants routinely spray potassium iodide or potassium iodate onto the salt while it moves along a conveyor belt before it is packaged. In lower-tech operations, iodine is sometimes added as a dry ingredient and physically mixed with the salt (http://www.saltinstitute.org/Production-industry/Production-technologies/Iodizing-salt).” Morton explains why, “In 1924 Morton became the first company to produce iodized salt for the table in order to reduce the incidence of simple goiter… Iodine is vital to the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the prevention of goiter (http://www.mortonsalt.com/faqs/food-salt-faqs). Iodine is spotty in the food chain. You might get all you need from seafood, sea vegetables, eggs, strawberries, etc., but you might not, especially if you don’t eat these foods very often. Putting iodine into salt is a safety factor.
Dextrose, the third ingredient, is added to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Dextrose, of course, is sugar. Check the salt in your cabinet at home. If it’s iodized, it almost certainly contains sugar. Morton explains that while it is chemically essential, “the amount of dextrose in salt is so small that it is dietetically insignificant… Morton® Iodized Table Salt contains 0.04 percent dextrose or 40 milligrams per 100 grams of salt.”
Personally, I use salt that is not iodized and does not contain sugar, and make a point of eating seafood, seaweed, and lots of eggs to meet my dietary iodine needs. My approach is not required for excellent health, but I enjoy being an extremist occasionally and this is one of my occasions. How about you?