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Why’s there sugar in table salt? Because of the iodine. Why’s there iodine…

June 15, 2015


No sooner had I arrived at the McDonald’s in the 1400 block of West Broadway on Sunday than I was faced with a question.

Did I know, one of the restaurant’s regulars, asked me — before I could even sit down — what was listed in the ingredients on a packet of salt?

“Um…besides salt?” I asked, attempting to buy time.

“Sugar. Canadian table salt contains sugar, in the form of dextrose,” he declared.

And yes, I could see that dextrose was third in the list of ingredients on the packet of table salt.

“Why is there sugar in table salt?” I wondered aloud. It couldn’t be there as a preservative.

To sell more salt, my friend explained.  The sugar makes the salt less salty so you need to use more of it, he elaborated.

And the cost of adding the sugar? I asked.

Is far less that what they make on increased salt sales, he confidently insisted, adding that it was illegal to add dextrose to table salt in the United States.

Salt: all the ingredients needed for confusion

The full ingredients on the packet of common Canadian table salt he waved at me were as follows:

“Salt, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Dextrose, and Potassium Iodine”.

Sodium silicoaluminate (also styled “sodium aluminum silicate”) is described as an odourless, colourless and tasteless moisture-absorbing anti-caking agent, use to keep the salt free-flowing.

Dextrose is a simple corn sugar that is chemically identical to glucose (blood sugar). It is included in a minute and (according to Morton Salt) “dietetically insignificant” amount in order to chemically stabilize the last ingredient.

Potassium iodine is an inorganic salt compound that has been added to table salt for over 90 years (Morto Salt claims priority in 1924) in order to effectively eliminate crippling goiter — caused over 90 percent of the time by iodine deficiency.

As soon as it comes in contact with air, potassium iodine begins to oxidize or rust, losing potency as it does so. Dextrose is added to slow down the oxidization.

The real trouble with table salt

I’m certain my friend was confusing dextrose with sodium silicoaluminate.

The inclusion of “aluminum” in food products always makes me uncomfortable for the simple reason that aluminum toxicity is a real thing.

Aluminum has been shown to accumulate in brain cells and mess with neurotransmitters and stuff. Specifically, aluminum absorption and consumption has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sodium silicoaluminate is one of several aluminum-containing compounds which can still be legally added to food in Canada. But not in China though, which finally banned the use of several aluminum-containing food additives, including sodium silicoaluminate, in 2014.

The same year China was banning it, the U.S. FDA was reaffirming that sodium silicoaluminate was one of the food substances “generally recognized as safe“.

Regardless what the FDA tells them, many U.S. food manufacturers, such as Morton Salt, one of largest sellers of table salt in the United States, have already switched to using calcium silicate as an anti-caking agent — in Morton’s case — in concentrations of less than half of one percent.

Another assault on the fallacy of healthy eating

This packet of salt is another reminder of how healthy eating, like home ownership, can only ever be a dream to poor people.

In a food economy such as we live in, where processed, packaged and adulterated food is the suffocating rule, it’s expensive to only eat the exception — food that is organically-grown, fresh, unprocessed and unadulterated — it requires time, effort and money.

In fact, for all but the richest people, it may be impossible.

To pull it off, among other things, you need to avoid almost all restaurants and absolutely all preprocessed and packaged foods — just to begin to get away from iodized and aluminized table salt.

And if you can’t afford to do that, why bother with the rest? Only because you think it tastes better, I guess.

Not to end on a depressing note but if aluminum from ubiquitous food additives is slowly accumulating in your brain and if aluminum really does predispose you to dementia and Alzheimer’s, then what is the actual point of trying to eat healthy? Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Fairview

  1. Slowcrow permalink

    Yup, your post IS food for thought. And while the Pope might be taken to ‘infer’ (??) big oil as 666ish,this Thursday, to the horror of the capitalists, maybe Ronald etal are close sidekicks. (but i guess, do not bite the hand that feeds you :), and remember, DANDELIONS!!)

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