It seems as though this conversation about Himalayan salt (and other unprocessed kinds of table salt) is intended to be useful for people who want to decide what to buy, and people do ask for real information here periodically. But it also seems as though the conversation gets derailed by arguments that aren't relevant to those concerns. Also: when people become too intent on discrediting one another, the subject is in danger of becoming someone's tone or state of mind rather than any concerns they've raised and whether they're worth considering.
At this point, I don't know that *extremely unlikely* claims about noncommercial table salts are useful to explore. "It's in our DNA" is a cliche that most of us don't need to think about beyond noting that saying so on a health forum is like saying "It's all relative" to a physicist.
What I'd find more useful personally is information on claims that one of my doctors made -- claims that don't address the virtues of Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt *separately* but put them in a better category than standard iodized salt *generally*.
My doctor says that the standard table salt we buy at the grocery store is refined, bleached and coated with a chemical that keeps the granules separate, and that those are the problems with standard table salt: fewer minerals, more processing and more chemicals.
The aim of using Celtic and Himalayan salts, he says, is not to offer miraculous health results (though he claims anecdotal results with high blood pressure, which I happen to have) but to reduce exposure to chemicals and include more natural mineral content. He also says that using powdered kelp instead of salt is a good idea.
Has anyone proved or disproved his claims? Are these benefits demonstrable or not? That's what I'd like to know.
People have talked about pseudo-blog pages which are commercial and extol the virtues of Himalayan salt. That is absolutely true, as five minutes' Googling or Duck Duck Going will prove.
But I would add that there are also many pseudo-blogs and articles by the commercial salt industry as well. In one case, there's even blowback regarding an irrelevant claim for Himalayan sea salt by a pseudo-blog dedicated to discrediting people who oppose GMO. On that site, the red herring raised by Himalania Pink Sea Salt's marketing -- that it is "non-GMO" (an amusing claim for a substance that was never a living organism and doesn't issue from one) -- is used to discredit both the nutritional value of the salt itself and masses of people who seeks to avoid GMO food generally, which the blog calls "the anti-GMO crowd" (as if there's a *grassroots pro-GMO movement* -- as if anyone uninvolved with Monsanto et al.'s marketing and lobbying campaigns ever characterized people who opposed GMO as delusional fanatics). Yes, that's shady marketing, but the hidden claims and euphemisms used to market conventional grocery items is at least as shady.
At this point, it's less useful to me to care about marketing claims made for gourmet salts -- or claims of a "scam" by alarmists and rivals -- than to acquire independent information about reasonable benefits and dangers.
I haven't, for example, seen anything to suggest that the radiation scare around Himalayan salt is credible. What I'd like more information about is the circumstances and conditions under which it's harvested, and not only the same analysis of its contents linked to over and over (not only on this thread, but everywhere on the web) as much as an article by a credible independent scientist who can explain the possible benefits, dangers and placebo effect of the exact proportions shown in that table.
A short note about sources:
The reason I distrust Wikipedia on the subject of gourmet salt is because I've noticed that people from the food industry will completely rewrite entries that were originally useful in order to market the alleged benefits by promoting them pseudo-officially. If you look at the history of the Wikipedia entry on yerba mate, for example, you'll notice that, as time goes on, the entry excludes more and more evidence about carcinogens and becomes increasingly complimentary. You'll also notice that the objections raised to studies that find higher incidences of throat cancer are questioned in the notes in quibbling ways that suggest the writer might intend to discredit or disinclude valid research.
I mention the yerba mate entry because I used to love it and was originally alerted to the dangers of drinking it by a blog by a writer for Scientific American that was featured on the PLOS blogs, which are written by independent science writers who are often actual scientists.
I noticed the same issue when checking the history of the entry on kombucha: Earlier versions of the article were less complimentary and more objective.
When looking at an entry on any food that is marketed commercially, I think it is nearly always important to sign in to Wikipedia and look at the history of the article. See for yourself whether important information has been deleted or modified. Decide for yourself whether, based on the nature and quality of the information, the aim was greater accuracy or better marketing.
And finally, one irrelevant observation:
It's good to know a little Latin whether or not the language is officially dead. Since our English vocabulary contains a number of Latin-derived words, a little familiarity with the subject probably wouldn't hurt.
But there's no reason to use an opponent's knowledge of Latin as proof (or Latinate prose style as disproof) of the validity of their thoughts about table salt!
Edited by Fnaphither - 2/15/14 at 6:30am