Rating: Certain people should avoid

Salt substitute.

Potassium chloride (also called potassium salt) is used in an increasing number of packaged and restaurant foods and salt substitutes sold at grocery stores to reduce sodium levels, a major cause of high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes. Grocery stores offer a range of salt substitutes for home use. Some consist almost entirely of potassium chloride and are sodium-free. However, to counteract potassium’s bitter taste, many “lite” salts are about half potassium chloride and half sodium chloride. If you use only as much of a salt substitute as you would have used regular salt, you would cut the sodium content of those meals significantly.

Besides reducing sodium intake, the extra potassium in salt substitutes offers its own health benefits. There is moderately strong evidence that higher potassium intakes reduce blood pressure, especially in people with high blood pressure.

Notwithstanding potassium chloride’s benefits for many people, certain people might be harmed by consuming too much potassium. Those include patients with reduced kidney function (e.g., from advanced kidney disease, diabetes, or acute kidney failure), people on certain medications (such as those for high blood pressure or congestive heart failure), infants, and people over the age of 85. If you fall into one of those categories, you should not use potassium-based salt substitutes before talking to your doctor.