Salt Vs. Non-Iodized Salt

Updated April 17, 2017

You likely eat salt every day. Salt is in the food you buy and in your own cooked meals (you do add salt, don't you?). What you may not know is that the salt used in these foods or the table salt in your home may be one of two types: non-iodised salt or iodised salt. These salts differ in chemical content, in health benefits and, to an extent, their effects on the flavour of food.


Producers of salt have many different ways of manufacturing salt. Regardless of how salt producers create their salt, the final product, the mineral with the chemical composure of NaCl, is called non-iodised salt. Iodised salt is produced no differently than is "salt." The main difference in these two types of salt comes from the addition of an iodide or iodate compound. It is only this post-production addition that differentiates salt and iodised salt.


In terms of health, iodised salt has a clear advantage over that of non-iodised salt. In many countries, especially Third World countries, iodine deficiency is common. By introducing iodised salt and having it replace normal salt, public health officials are employing a valuable measure that prevents goitre, mental retardation and other adverse health effects. However, in many developed countries, where iodine deficiency is rare, the health advantages of iodised salt diminish because those living in these countries simply do not need the extra iodine that iodised salt provides.


Many cooks and workers in food preparation adhere to the belief that iodised salt has poor flavour when compared to non-iodised salt. At the same time, other members of the food industry disagree, stating that there is no flavour difference between the two salts. Scientific studies have investigated whether iodised salts change the flavour of food items. The results of many studies show that the effect of using iodised salt in place of non-iodised salt is small to negligible. These studies conclude that iodised salt does have a slightly different flavour from non-iodised salt, but that it does not affect the food that it is seasoning to a large degree. This is because the mechanism by which iodised salt changes a food's flavour is iodine absorption. Most foods absorb little iodine when cooked with iodised salt, although some foods tend to absorb more than others (pasta and rice, for example).

Colour and Texture

Chefs from all over the world have stated that using iodised salt in place of non-iodised salt changes the colour and texture of the food prepared. For example, chefs from Canada, Romania, Pakistan and the U.S. have commented that iodised salt is unsuitable for pickling. These chefs have stated that applying iodised salt to pickling concoctions have led to the darkening and softening of pickled food items. However, no scientific studies have investigated these claims as of yet.

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About the Author

Having obtained a Master of Science in psychology in East Asia, Damon Verial has been applying his knowledge to related topics since 2010. Having written professionally since 2001, he has been featured in financial publications such as SafeHaven and the McMillian Portfolio. He also runs a financial newsletter at Stock Barometer.