Potassium Chloride- An Alternative Salt Substitute for Sodium Chloride (Table Salt)

Nowadays, high dietary sodium intake (DSI) is an important major health-related public issue in most countries all over the world, which often associated a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) [6, 7]. Hence, potassium chloride (KCl) is used as a great alternative salt substitute base for sodium chloride (table salt). KCl is a naturally occurring mineral and widely used by the food manufacturer when formulating low sodium or reduced-sodium products [3]. The taste of the KCl is relatively similar to sodium chloride that gives a seasoning alternative and maintaining the flavor in food products. It also could provide potassium enrichment to foods. Potassium occurs naturally in bananas, tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes, avocado, papaya, legumes and low-fat dairy foods. Food products that contain the KCl such as baby formulas, cereals, sauces, snack bars and sports drinks. But, the amount of potassium chloride presented in each food are tend to be small, because if used at high quantity will cause the food products to lose its ability for saltiness resulted in a bitter taste.

KCl is safe to eat and has been recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA encourages food manufacturers to label the ingredient as ‘potassium chloride salt’ instead of only potassium chloride. This could help consumers to understand that potassium chloride can replace sodium chloride in foods [4]. The use of KCl salt as a replacement for table salt in food products or cooking associated with several health benefits included reduces sodium intake and increases the intake of potassium [5]. Additionally, adequate potassium intake could decrease the risk of age‐related bone loss and reduction of kidney stones, reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke [1, 9]. The recommended nutrient intake of potassium for adults age 19 to 50 years is 4.7g/ day (120mmol) could contribute beneficial health effects [8].

Excessive potassium intake does not pose a health risk in a healthy population with normal kidney functions because 90% of potassium is readily excreted in the urine, while a small amount of 10% is excreted through gastrointestinal tract  [2]. However, individuals who have medical conditions with poor kidney health or impair urinary excretion of potassium such as diabetes, renal failure, severe heart failure, or undergoing specific therapeutic regimens (e.g., certain drugs, dietary restrictions) should consult with their health care professional before consuming any foods containing potassium chloride.


  1. Aburto, N.J., Hanson, S., Gutierrez, H., Hooper, L., Elliott, P., and Cappuccio,  F.P., 2013. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: Systematic review and meta- analyses. BMJ (Online), 346 (7903).
  2. Appel, L.J., 2012. Potassium. In: Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. Elsevier Inc., 52–55.
  3. Buren, L., Dötsch-Klerk, M., Seewi, G., and Newson, R.S., 2016. Dietary impact of adding potassium chloride to foods as a sodium reduction technique. Nutrients, 8 (4).
  4. FDA issues guidance on potassium chloride as an alternative to sodium [online], 2020. [online]. U.S. Food and DrugAdministration. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda- brief/fda-brief-fda-issues-new-guidance- help-consumers-recognize-potassium- chloride-alternative-sodium [Accessed 8 Jun 2020].
  5. Greer, R.C., Marklund, M., Anderson, C.A.M., Cobb, L.K., Dalcin, A.T., Henry, M., and Appel, L.J., 2020. Potassium- Enriched Salt Substitutes as a Means to Lower Blood Pressure: Benefits and Risks. Hypertension.
  6. Guideline: sodium intake for adults and children [online], 2020. [online]. Who.int. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/97 89241504836 [Accessed 8 Jun 2020].
  7. Ha, S.K., 2014. Dietary salt intake and hypertension. Electrolyte and Blood Pressure.
  8. Recommended Nutrient  Intakes for Malaysia [online], 2017. [online]. Nutrition.moh.gov.my. Available from: http://nutrition.moh.gov.my/wp- content/uploads/2017/05/FA-Buku- RNI.pdf [Accessed 8 Jun 2020].
  9. Weaver, C.M., 2013. Potassium and Health. Advances in Nutrition, 4 (3), 368S- 377S.

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