Salt substitutes – Can you break the salt habit?

There has been a lot of news in the media recently about sodium and how most people need to watch the amount of salt they have in their diet. It has been estimated that the average Canadian consumes 3,400 mg of sodium each day. This is well over the recommendations of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day (the equivalent of 1 tsp of salt) that was set by Health Canada but has been lowered even further to 1500 mg recently.

With the amount of processed foods and items in the market, this level isn’t hard to exceed at all. There are a number of products on the market that people are marketed as salt substitutes. But do they taste any good? We’re about to find out.

For today’s taste test, we took Campbell’s No Salt Added Chicken Broth and added salt and a salt substitute to each sample. We also allowed our taste testers to try the chicken broth without anything added.

There is also another product on the market (Mrs. Dash) that isn’t so much a salt substitute but a seasoning blend of different herbs – could this also be an appropriate substitute for salt?

Here is the list of the salt substitutes that were used:
  • No Salt (potassium chloride)
  • Nu Salt (potassium chloride)
  • Table Salt (sodium chloride)
  • Mrs. Dash

Taste testers:
Please try each sample and indicate which one you like the most.

Would you choose to:
a) switch to a salt substitute due to health benefits
b) stop salt cold turkey and just get used to eating things without salt or
c) stick to salt because nothing can adequately replace it?

Do you think Mrs. Dash could be an adequate replacement?

The results:
Thank you everyone for your great comments! Here are the results:

A: NuSalt
B: Salt
C: NoSalt
D: Mrs. Dash (obviously)

The bottom line:
It is really hard to replicate the taste of salt. Both of the salt substitutes didn’t have the same effect and impact on flavour as salt (and are way more expensive). It would be tough switching over if you had a health condition that required you to limit your intake of salt. It would definitely require some experimentation and creativity in the kitchen.

But remember, that most of the sodium in the average Canadian’s diet comes from processed foods. So the more home cooking you do using fresh ingredients, the better.

8 thoughts on “Salt substitutes – Can you break the salt habit?

  1. Thanks for the taste test Lisa and Nicole!

    Me – I'd rather stop cold turkey. And Mrs Dash doesn't replace salt but it's a great way to add flavors.

    A – Blend : No Salt
    B – Slightly salty : Table salt
    C – Blend : Nu Salt
    D – Blend but we can see some herbs : Mrs. Dash

    They all have same colors and smells. The only difference is taste. I really cannot tell them apart (No vs Nu Salt). Interesting taste test …

  2. I liked "b" the best followed by "d". "b" was a little saltier tasting than I enjoy but I found it most resembled table salt. I found "a" and "c" tasted similar- somewhat metallic or bitter and I did not enjoy them.

  3. A: salt substitute – tasted ok, better than C
    B: salt
    C: salt substitute – tasted gross
    D: Mrs. Dash – best tasting
    Control: tasted ok but hard to tell since it was not warmed up.

    If I could not use salt I would first try Mrs. Dash (depending on the recipe) and then A.

  4. If I had to choose a course of action, I would stick with salt.

    My choice for the taste test was B.

  5. C is the absolute worst! Tastes like dish water. I like B the best, but that's not saying much – needs more salt. D wasn't too bad – I think it's the Mrs. Dash one – not a bad attempt at a no-salt option. However, if I have a choice, which I do, I choose salt, hands-down! There is NO adequate replacement.

  6. A-no salt
    C-nu salt
    D – Mrs Dash

    If my guesses are correct I found both the nu salt and Mrs Dash acceptable. Would I switch probably not, I would reduce the level of salt I use and increase the amount of herbs/spices used.

  7. A: watery – either no salt or nu salt
    B: this one is probably the most acceptable out of them all – salt?
    C: not a fan either – no salt or nu salt
    D: awful! I think this one could be Mrs. Dash since I see the seasoning flakes floating around…

    If I had health problems I’d stop salt all together but look into substitutes for flavourings, but I don’t mean using “salt substitutes” as the replacement either i.e. try other herbs and spices, garlic, ginger etc. and let my taste buds adjust 🙂

  8. A: Slightly bland, metallic aftertaste (you would have to use more to get a more salty taste, but there is also the after taste)
    B: Clean taste – must be salt.
    C: Bland and also metallic. But as bland as A though.
    D: Mrs Dash because (it's got the herbs that I can see). It doesn't have a salty taste but there are a lot of flavours that are present (salt not being one of them)
    E: The control (salt free chicken broth) is brutal (tastes like dish water)

    Nothing beats the taste of salt. If I had to choose between the options, I would choose to stick with salt. However, if I really needed to limit it, I would probably stop cold turkey and try some creative experimentation in the kitchen. I don't think Mrs. Dash is enough to replace the taste and effectiveness of salt. However, as with most things, one could eventually get used to eating less salt.

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