MythInformation Monday – Myth #4


It all started with the Industrial Revolution. That period of time marked a turning point in anthropology, especially how we associated with our environment. Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Society transitioned away from the traditional agrarian (agriculture based) economy and toward one that was more manufacturing based.

There are those who argue that it took such a long period of time for society at large to be affected, that it was not so much a Revolution, but more of an Evolution. In either case, the fact is that significant changes occurred which set in motion a series of events that bring us to the subject of this week’s mythinformation discussion.

By the year 1924, serious iodine deficiency was fully substantiated as a major health problem in the United States. In that same year Morton’s salt began producing iodized salt to help supplement iodine intake for the population at large. Understanding how the problem came to exist helps to us identify why it is that iodine isn’t even a consideration when purchasing and using salt.

With people moving into the city and away from the country, eating habits changed. Increases in per capita incomes were inversely proportional to the consumption of the very foods that helped prevent iodine deficiencies. Richer more luxurious foods became sought after and the oft eaten greens from days gone by were long forgotten. With that shift in diet came a number of nutritional deficiencies including iodine.

Interestingly, we only need to consume approximately one teaspoon of iodine in our entire lifetime to meet our total iodine intake requirement. However, it’s not as simple as finding an iodine supplement and taking it once for life. Our bodies will not store iodine and so need just a small amount every day to regulate thyroid funcion. The average daily requirement for an adult? Approximately 150 micrograms (that’s only 1/20,000th of a teaspoon).

What’s even more notable is that consuming one cup of cow’s milk (8 ounces) along with one medium baked potato (skin on) and 3 ounces of baked turkey breast, (or if you prefer, substitute 3 chicken eggs) and you will have provided your RDA of iodine intake – and all of that without a single gram of iodized salt. Other foods rich in iodine include spinach, kale, swiss chard, beets, collard greens, turnip greens, Jerusalem artichokes, shrimp, navy beans, cod and dried seaweed to name just a few.

Refined table salt spray coated with iodine is not better for you than a simple healthy diet that includes any of the above foods. In fact, based on previous mythinformation discussions you may be doing your health an even greater disservice if you are using salt as the vehicle for maintaining your RDA of iodine and avoiding those rich in iodine.

While there are some a very few sea salts that do contain iodine, their iodine content (at < .003%) is negligible.  Just like you don’t eat salt for the mineral content, you shouldn’t eat salt for it’s iodine content.

We say it’s just one more reason to put the table salt or Kosher salt down…

Does iodine in your diet matter? Absolutely!

Does iodine in your salt matter? It absolutely should NOT!