Ask the Expert: Salt

The Physicians Committee

Ask the Expert: Salt

Q: Does salt increase cancer risk? How do table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt differ?

A: Studies done on Koreans consuming foods preserved by salting and pickling has shown that heavy salt consumption increases the risk for stomach cancer. However, using moderate amounts of salt in cooking or for flavoring foods does not appear to increase cancer risk.

Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt have all the same sodium contents but differ in taste and texture. Sea salt is harvested from evaporated seawater whereas table salt and kosher salt come from rock salt harvested from inland deposits. Sea salt can be either fine or coarse and often has a different flavor than table or kosher salt because of the different minerals it contains. Table salt is fine in texture and often has added iodine, necessary for proper thyroid function. Kosher salt is coarse-grained and usually has no additives.

Lee JK, Park BJ, Yoo KY, Ahn YO. Dietary factors and stomach cancer: a case-control study in Korea. Int J Epidemiol. 1995;24(1):33-41.