LONDON — Gourmet rock and sea salts are as damaging to your health as regular salt despite on-pack claims that the products are “natural” and “contain minerals,” according to research released Nov. 17 from the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) and Which?. In the research, a public analyst measured the sodium chloride content of several “posh” salts such as gourmet rock and sea salts and table salt. The results showed all the salts contained as much sodium chloride as each other.

Supported by 25 scientific members London-based CASH is a group concerned with salt and its effects on health. Which?, Hertford, United Kingdom, campaigns to protect consumer rights, reviews products and offers advice.

According to a Which? member survey, people who buy rock or sea salt said they do so because they believe those salts are healthier (24%) or more natural (39%) than table salt. Rock and sea salt may cost more than table salt, but 46% of Which? members who buy salt said they think it’s worth paying extra for rock and sea salt.

“Many of us are trying to reduce the amount of salt in our diet, but our research shows that people are needlessly spending more money on premium salt as they often believe it’s healthier than traditional table salt,” said Sue Davies, chief policy adviser for Which?

In regard to minerals from salt, CASH said people may consume all the vitamins and minerals they need from a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. CASH added some gourmet salts have a larger crystal size, which means they might not taste as salty as finer grains. All salt may be considered natural, CASH said and added flavors such as herbs, spices, pepper, lemon and garlic may be used instead of salt on food.