In Israel, there are some low-sodium salt substitute, which brag to have "60% less sodium than regular salt".

I suspect that there's a catch. I strongly suspect that indeed they contain 60% less sodium than the regular salt, however, you need to add 60% (or 50%, but a larger amount) more of the salt-subtitute to get the same taste.

Is that true? Did anyone else think about that?


3 Answers 3


I'd say that's not strictly true,mostly because no salt substitute I've ever seen can get the same taste anyway.

"Real" salt is sodium chloride (and maybe iodine, or minor impurities if it's sea salt). Most salt substitutes are partly or mostly potassium chloride. This is technically a salt (chemically speaking) and does have a similar salty taste, but it doesn't taste quite like sodium chloride, and can be bitter or metallic-tasting. Some salt substitutes add herbs or other things to help make the potassium chloride more palatable. Sounds like your has some "regular" salt as well, if it's got a significant sodium content.

So while you are right that there's likely a "catch," it's more likely to be that your salt substitute will never taste quite right, or will be bitter, and less likely that you'll be piling loads of extra on in an effort to get the right saltiness.

  • 2
    It may also be ammonium chloride (AKA salmiak). A small amount of that tastes crazy salty, and of course, provides absolutely none of the dietary benefits of sodium chloride or iodine. You have to be really careful with this stuff if you're not on a low-sodium diet for medical reasons; it can trick your body into thinking you're getting enough salt when you actually aren't.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 17:15
  • @Aaronut, thanks. Last time I checked, dietetics claimed that if you're having a modern diet, you already have all the salt that you need, so they recommended, generally speaking, never to add extra salt to your plate if possible. You'll have enough of it if you're not on a special diet. Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 19:29
  • @Elazar: There are many contradictory opinions with regard to sodium intake; the most well-supported at the moment seems to be that sodium levels in the body are tightly-regulated, like body temperature, and the amount you have in your diet isn't particularly important; if the level is out of whack, it's probably due to some serious medical condition. Excessive intake of sodium (or anything else) can still force your liver/kidneys to do extra work, and in general I'd encourage everyone to do their own research rather than take my word for it. But really the sodium issue is vastly overblown.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 21:46
  • @Aaronut - hey, that nearly looks like medical advice and opinion? Have the rules changed :)
    – TFD
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 2:10
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    @TFD: I doubt that anybody would read that as medical advice. As for the rest - the comment is clearly on topic here, since it was in response to another comment explicitly stating the assumption which probably motivated the question in the first place. I also clearly indicated that there are different expert opinions. There never were any "rules", we just ask people not to offer up unverified medical opinions without context when it's not directly relevant to the issue at hand.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 2:46

See the wikipedia article on salt substitutes:


They use strongly salty-tasting chemicals that aren't sodium chloride (but may or may not be more healthy, depending on what serious diseases are forcing you to reduce your salt intake).


If one adds salt by volume to dishes, low salt sodium helps, since each tsp, for instance, contains less sodium than normal salt. If one adds till something tastes right, then it doesn't help since one would have added more tsps of it thus adding more sodium. Regular salt would have worked just as well. It is a little bit like keeping you clock ten minutes ahead. When you look at it, you are likely to react to the displayed time even though you know that you have kept it ahead. (Stimulus control.)

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