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When using kosher salt one has to use more kosher salt than table salt to achieve the same level of saltiness. Does it mean that using kosher salt causes one to consume more salt (or sodium)?

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Note that kosher salt is not actually "kosher", since minerals are not an object of religious diet prescription. The name comes from its use: kosher salt is used to make OTHER aliments kosher, such as extracting the blood from veal or poultry. –  belisarius Nov 13 '10 at 3:50
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Essentially, it should be called "Koshering salt". –  ceejayoz Nov 13 '10 at 15:38
    
@ceejayoz and it often is: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_salt :-) –  Josh Nov 16 '10 at 3:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Kosher salt is the same thing (though I'm pretty sure it's not iodized), but the crystals are less dense and larger. There's more air in each piece, and they don't pack together as tightly. That means you have to put a larger volume of kosher to get the same amount of actual sodium chloride (salt).

Think of it as the difference between ice cubes (regular salt) and snow (kosher). Both are water, but ice cubes are way denser than a scoop of snow. When melting it, you'll need more volume of snow to come out to the same amount of water as you'd get from a few ice cubes.

So no, it's not worse for you.

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Also, what's theoretically bad for you in salt is sodium, FYI. But sodium isn't bad for you. It's actually critically necessary in your body. What can be bad for you is way too much sodium. How much sodium you can tolerate safely is based on some hereditary factors and how well hydrated you stay. –  bikeboy389 Nov 12 '10 at 22:37
    
I think the comment is important enough to be part of the answer. The supposed dangers of sodium are almost 100% myth. You can overdose on sodium and go into hypernatremia - if you're ingesting salt in large quantities at the same concentration as sea water. Most people who aren't on a boat would be gulping down fresh water before they got anywhere near fatal sodium levels. But that's all incidental really; "bad for your health" implies complications associated with long-term sodium consumption and that's just hokum. –  Aaronut Nov 12 '10 at 23:56
    
So the numerous studies on salt level intake are all wrong? That news! If you want a salt taste with less salt, try finely powdered salt. Just process salt in a food processor till it looks like icing sugar, and dust onto dish –  TFD Nov 13 '10 at 1:35
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@TFD, @Aaronut: Not that this is a medical advice site, but there have been plenty of studies suggesting that salt isn't quite so bad for you, and it's hard to say how valid a lot of hyped-up nutritional research is anyway. As long as I'm off topic, great article: Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science –  Jefromi Nov 13 '10 at 2:23
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I figured you'd chime in, @TFD. Pray tell, what are all of these "numerous studies?" Most current scientific (i.e. not political) data indicates that salt consumption is relatively constant and low-sodium diets may actually cause harm. Hell, they even knew it was junk science back in 1997. I really don't want to stray into nutrition territory, but I've recently seen an increased badgering about low-fat, low-sodium diets and it has to stop now. –  Aaronut Nov 15 '10 at 15:37

Kosher salt and table salt are equally "salty", however, kosher salt is less compact, which means that the same volume of salt will not be equally salty.

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PepsiCo (owner of Lays chips) developed a new custom salt for potato chips, which allows them to use far less salt to achieve the same level of saltiness. This will allow them to cut sodium levels by 25%. So it's certainly true that the form of the salt has an affect on the amount of sodium you are consuming compared to the saltiness of the food. Some of the comments posted on this answer call into question whether you should care about sodium content. Assuming you should care, then it's worth considering it.

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@Sobachatina: Whoops. Fixed. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Nov 15 '10 at 16:41
    
@Mr Shiny: this was very interesting: "Normally, only about 20% of the salt on a chip actually dissolves on the tongue before the chip is chewed and swallowed, and the remaining 80% is swallowed without contributing to the taste" –  Sobachatina Nov 15 '10 at 17:05
    
That's interesting. Without having articulated it that way in my mind, this is why I cook with enough salt that I almost never want to add any at the table. It seems to take a lot more salt at the table to make a served portion of something properly salty than it does to make the whole dish properly salted. Now I can go around annoyingly spouting the 80/20 principle on this subject with at least the tiniest shred of evidence to back it up! –  bikeboy389 Nov 15 '10 at 19:13

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