Are salt substitutes healthy to use if you’re on a low sodium diet? The answer might surprise you.
What Are Salt Substitutes?
If your doctor prescribes a low sodium lifestyle you might be tempted to reach for a salt substitute, a low sodium or sodium-free combination of minerals used to mimic the taste of salt in food. Table salt is made up of sodium and chloride. (You can learn more about that here.) Salt substitutes replace a portion or all of the sodium found in salt with potassium. This gives food a salty-ish flavor. For most people, salt substitutes are fine, if you can handle the slightly metallic taste that comes along with most of them.
Why Salt Substitutes are Not Healthy for Everyone
Potassium can help lower blood pressure so its presence in salt substitutes may not pose a problem. However, if you struggle with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor before using a salt substitute. Medications you may be taking to treat these conditions can make it harder for your body to process or eliminate excess potassium, which can result from using salt substitutes. Too much potassium in your body can cause serious complications so it’s important that you talk to you doctor before you start using them.