why aren’t the ingredients for salt just, salt?


Looking here at a salt packet from ncdonalds. What is sodium sulucoaluminate? Also, dextrose and potassium iodide are present. Why isn’t salt just salt?

In: 31

I’m only guessing here but it might be the stuff they use to clean the salt or it might be artificial salt

sodium sulucoaluminate is an anti caking agent. It keeps the salt from clumping together.

Iodized salt is often used because humans need iodine, and if a population lives far from the sea, that is an easy way to ensure everyone gets it.

Dextrose apparently stabilizes the iodine.

Dextrose is in it to prevent caking. Otherwise the salt will clump. The iodine chemical is in all salt because (I forget the reason) most salt is iodized because we need it for our diet. The sodium chemical is the type of salt it is. Is is an aluminum salt.

Because they added a bunch of stuff to the salt to prevent it from clumping up. So the packet is “salt + other things”, to make sure that the salt stays as sprinkles instead of chunks.

Potassium iodide has been added to salt for 50+ years in tiny amounts to help prevent iodine deficiency.

potassium iodide is for the iodine. iodized salt has been a great boon to people since iodine is required by our bodies. there are some anti-caking agents, which *might* be what the dextrose is for. no idea why I see sugar in some salt ingredient lists.

Sodium sulucoaluminate is an anti-caking agent. Plain salt granules can turn into a solid block if left in humid areas. The anti-caking helps stop that form happening.

Potassium iodide is added because iodine deficiency can be really bad, so iodine is added to salt to stop that from happening.

Dextrose is there to help keep the potassium iodide as potassium iodide. Otherwise it can decompose into iodine.

Spices usually have anti-caking agents added to them so they don’t clump together. That would prevent them from being able to fit through a shaker lid or sprinkle easily, etc. Iodide is added to table salt as it’s a nutrient we need in our diet, but don’t get it from a lot of other sources-mostly seafood and dairy outside of salt. And since everyone should season their food, it s a good way to add iodide if you aren’t eating seafood regularly.

Salt is a type of compound. More specifically a salt is something that is made up out of electrically charged particles, but they add together to become neutral.

For example, normal table salt is made up of Sodium and Chloride (NaCl), Sodium is positive with +1 and Chloride is negative with -1. Opposite charges attract and they add together to make 0. This is called an Ionic Bond

Other compounds are called Covalent Bonds. This means that the stuff that makes those compounds up are not stuck together because of different charges, instead they share electrons with eachother. Electrons are negative.

With salts however, one of the elements want that negative charge so much, and the other really wants to get rid of it, so the electron jumps over to the other compound. In Covalent Bonds, the elements dont want it that much, so they settle for the next best thing. The negative particle sorts of jumps, but still doesnt, by instead being shared between the atoms making up the compound.

Basically, salts are a type of compound, its what you get from a specific type of connectiom between the particles that make it up. Table Salt is just one type of salt, and its made up of Sodium and Chloride. There are however other salts (and those salts should not be eaten!).

In some areas where people didn’t eat a lot of iodine-rich saltwater seafood average IQ went up 15 points after the government mandated adding iodine to salt. (1924 in the US, so almost a hundred years ago.)

Iodine was originally added to prevent the deficiency disease goiter, but it was eventually found that even low level iodine deficiency could have adverse effects on brain development.

(In some countries iodine is added to dairy or plant-based milk or other common foods instead of salt.)

So standard table salt contains iodine for health, stuff to keep the iodine stable, and an anti-caking ingredient to keep the salt from clumping and crystallizing into bigger flakes.


Salt refers to more compounds than just table salt also known as NaCl – Sodium Chloride. Potassium iodide – KI is also a salt. A salt in terms of chemistry refers to a type of ionic compound. But the general public refers to sodium chloride as “Salt”, but really it’s a much wider category.

Very cool history on why we fortify salt with iodine (as others have stated, it’s a pretty essential nutrient for humans. Here’s the history of it: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509517/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509517/)

TLDR; Not eating iodine messes up our thyroid gland and that really messes up our hormones and inhibits our intelligence and ability to function.

The reason we use salt specifically to distribute iodine is that everyone eats it and it’s pretty easy to guess how much of it people will eat, so we can dose the iodine correctly