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With A Grain of Salt


Potassium is a new kind of salt

The Western diet is often considered majorly flawed; it’s criticized for being full of ultra-processed foods and laced with sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.  It’s also responsible for a major state of unhealthiness in both adults and children.  Salt in particular has been trending more than ever with unusual varieties arriving to the market, including pink, flaked and even truffle flavored  – and it’s only encouraging its prevalence within our diet.

There is however, a new kid on the block in the seasoning world that may be part of the solution to reducing sodium intake – and it has the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s called potassium chloride (KCl), which has a similar salty taste and nearly identical appearance as common table salt (NaCl).  While KCL isn’t essential to the diet the way sodium is, its major benefit is that it may help us meet our potassium requirement (4700mg/day) with potential to help with blood pressure regulation.   

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest no more than 2300mg salt as part of a healthy diet.  And since the major source of sodium in the diet is processed and convenience foods, this is more of an FYI as you may start to see KCl on ingredients labels.  If you’re looking for a substitute for your home salt shaker, the good news is that it can be found at most grocery stores, next to the salt.  Look for salt substitute on the label and “Potassium Chloride” should be the first item on the ingredients line.  To use it, simply shake over food as you would salt.  The one setback—or possible guardrail—is that if you use too much it may have a metallic or bitter flavor. 

Another way to way bump up your potassium intake is with produce items such as bananas, plantains, kiwi or cantaloupe!   Check out these two fall inspired recipes: 

Ghost Bananas

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain & Lentil Caribbean Curry

Note:  Check with your doctor before adding Potassium Chloride to your diet.  It may be contraindicated for those with kidney disease or other conditions. 

Published October 1st 2019

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