It is a public health problem and ultra-processed products are largely responsible for it. We are consuming too much salt. And to decipher the labels of industrial products you have to hang on. If there is sugar in salty products, there is salt in sweet products, it’s an infernal duo.
“I do not understand the difference between salt and sodium.… I rely on the chemist to enlighten me”.
On some labels there is sometimes the sodium content and it is not the same thing as the salt content so it is not always easy to know if the recommended amounts are respected.
Sodium is half of the atoms of salt but for the organism, you have to look at the mass that this represents (it is not half by mass).
The conversion is simple: 2.5g of salt equals 1g of sodium. To approximate the salt content, multiply the sodium content by 2.54. To approximate the sodium content, divide the salt content by 2.54.
The health recommendations are 1.5 and 2.4 g of sodium or 3.7 and 6 g of salt.
5-6 g of salt is roughly a teaspoon per day, of pure salt, but there is also “hidden” salt in our products on a daily basis. They are everywhere, in small quantities, and you have to add them up.
- Sodium hydrogen carbonate in carbonated waters.
- Baking soda or sodium in baking powder.
- Sodium alginate as a texturizer, etc.
- E211… obscure…. Sodium benzoate as a preservative (beer, olive, soup, chewing gum, light jams…).
- Sodium nitrate and nitrite in almost all cold cuts and cured products.
- Glutamate… sodium in many products.
“Do you see sodium-free salts like potassium chloride? I don’t know how to use it, and is it really good?”
It all depends on the doses, there are salts with potassium, but also magnesium, calcium, etc. Some people speak of “diet salts”, either part of the sodium is replaced, or everything is replaced so you have to read the labels carefully.
These salts are a possible alternative to sodium, but be careful, this does not mean overconsumption. Finally, the taste is sometimes quite different, often a little more acidic.
“After cooking the salted soup, Morteau and lentils, I tasted the broth, excellent but too salty, how can I reduce the salt for a soup?”
- Pay attention to the choice of the initial ingredients. The salted dish is sometimes made with meats injected with brines (in excess).
- Above all, do not salt the initial cooking water, even if it means correcting it later.
- Do not forget that during cooking, the sauce reduces with the evaporation of the water, therefore the salt becomes concentrated. As for example with lentils etc. In long cooking, there is a strong evaporation therefore a greater concentration.
“A piece of potato would absorb excess salt in soups or sauces. Is that true?”
This absorbs some cooking water, like any vegetable, but there is a balance between the salt in the potato and the sauce / soup. The effect is negligible. If you eat potato, you eat salt as well. The same goes for the breadcrumbs.
On the other hand, the potato releases a little starch in the sauce. What does not necessarily feel in the mouth, but it deposits a kind of film on our taste buds, which may be enough to give an impression of slightly less salty. For the body, it is the same amount of salt.
“Is Himalayan salt so good? Many virtues are highlighted: energetic, internal pH regulator, etc….”
This salt rebalances the acidity, there is a wealth of minerals, especially iron and sulfur. It is these minerals that give this salt its pink color and smell.
It is a complete salt, just like Guérande salt for example. It is different from refined or transparent white salt. It is also called “rock salt” formed only of pure crystals of sodium chloride.
It’s a bit like sugar, you should prefer a full salt. Even if the amounts used are not the same, it should be moderate anyway.
Persian salt, Himalayan salt, Hawaiian lava black salt… you must also pay attention to fashion trends and the price per kilo, and you must not forget the carbon footprint either.
“I suffer from heart failure: how can I add flavor? Tips? I go around in circles in the recipes”.
It takes special vigilance not to consume processed products, it is not easy. Here are some tips:
- Celery salt, or celery, is a bad idea. There is a lot of sodium in this vegetable so eating celery is like eating sodium, it is not a substitute. This is not recommended for people with heart failure (almost 1g of sodium per 100g of cooked vegetables).
- Readjust your palate to more raw flavors.
- Salt is not a flavor enhancer. It can substitute for other flavors, such as spice blends that fill this “apparent lack” of salt. Ex: tagine or curry without salt. Blend of roasted sesame-type crushed seeds (inspired by gomasio).
- Play with fresh aromatic herbs: basil, coriander, tarragon etc …
- The umami flavors are interesting: tomato, mushroom, seaweed. There is glutamate without sodium, products with an iodized taste can also “distract” the attention of the palate.
- Play with all the other flavors, such as flowery, sweet, woody, roasted, tangy, bitter, etc… Season with everything except salt.