Are potassium chloride salt substitutes good for you, and better than normal salt? – Misty
Most people could benefit by putting down the salt shaker! Your question is if potassium chloride (K-Cl) salt substitutes are good for you. The answer is not so straight forward.
If in place of table salt (sodium chloride/Na-Cl), I’d say “yes” for most people, but not everyone. Those with kidney problems or on a medication for their heart, kidneys or liver should check with their physician as to which type of salt substitute is best for them. Otherwise, K-Cl can be used in place of table salt—in moderation, of course.
As a flavor enhancer, K-Cl can replace Na-Cl, both in recipes and at the table. If you’re making fermented sauerkraut or brined pickles, you’ll need Na-Cl to keep the food safe from bad bacteria. Some people perceive a metallic, bitter or off taste from K-Cl.
Reducing sodium in the diet is good. Raising potassium is even better! Potassium contributes to nerve impulse transmission, acid-base balance and fluid balance. It’s best to get your potassium from natural sources like bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, leafy greens, meats and milk products.
What may be more important than salt choice is avoiding processed foods. Packaged items not only have more sodium and fewer nutrients than their homemade counterparts, they have more trans fat, less fiber and fewer phytochemicals. By eating more fresh foods you naturally get more potassium (and all the other good stuff) and less sodium.
Related information: natural sea salt, organic salt and Himalayan salt aren’t doing your body any favors in the sodium department. These sources are all at least 98% Na-Cl. Their side notes (due to that remaining less than 2% of minerals) do impart different flavors which can be useful in culinary preparations.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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