Lunchtime salads may not be such a healthy option!

A campaign group in the UK says some lunchtime salads and pasta contain so much salt that they should come with a health warning.

According to Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), a study of 156 salads and pasta bowls sold to the public revealed that 19 per cent contained more than one third of the 6g daily limit.

The food was bought at nine high-street retailers, three coffee shops and two fast-food outlets.

CASH says one noodle salad in particular contained 4.4 grams of salt which equates to 73 per cent of the recommended daily limit, while some McDonald's salads were saltier than a Big Mac and small fries meal.

They discovered an EAT Thai noodle salad with 4.4 grams of salt per portion, a Tesco tuna and sweetcorn pasta snack had 3.7 grams, while EAT smoked mackerel superfood and McDonald's crispy chicken Caesar salad with low-fat dressing both contained 3.5 grams.

All were in fact saltier than a Big Mac and small fries, which contained 2.5 grams.

Though the classic salad ingredients such as leaves, tomatoes and onions are naturally low in salt, added extras such as bacon, ham and cheese can all boost salt levels.

CASH has called for dressings to be made less salty and served separately because some salad dressings add on a gram of salt to a meal.

The Food Standards Agency warns that adults should eat no more than 6 grams of salt per day because it can cause high blood pressure, increasing the risk of strokes and heart disease.

Professor Graham MacGregor the chairman of the campaign group, says that while many salad dishes were healthy, some should carry a health warning, rather than be thought of as a healthy option.

CASH has also criticised the Pret a Manger sandwich chain for not showing salt content on its packs.

The British Heart Foundation says salt is a hidden killer which can lurk in the unlikeliest of foods and the study illustrates the problem shoppers have distinguishing healthy from unhealthy food at a glance.

Nutritionists say people who want a healthy lunch option should look for a meal with no more than 0.25g of salt per 100g of product.

The findings come hot on the heels of another report which found some ready-made sandwiches contain more salt than seven packets of crisps and a survey of 140 pre-packed sandwiches found 40 per cent contained more than one third of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of salt.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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