Hidden salt levels in healthy salads

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The high salt content in a healthy salad may make you opt for a burger instead.

A survey has found that eating healthy salads laden with hidden salt could result in one consuming the entire daily allowance of 6g of salt.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) used 650 salads sold by fast food outlets, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets to do the tests.

It was that 77% contained more salt than a packet of salted crisps.

The crispy chicken and bacon salad from McDonald’s contained more salt, calories and fat than its burger with gherkin and ketchup. The salad contained 1.3g of salt, compared to the burger’s 1.2g, 19g of fat compared to the burger’s 8g and 380 calories compared to the burger’s 250.

One of the worst offenders in this sphere was Pizza Express.

Its grand chicken Caesar salad contained 5.3g of salt which is equivalent to two and a half Big Macs obtainable from McDonald’s. For children, who should limit their salt intake to between 2g and 6g daily, this may result in them consuming double their daily limit.

The warm vegetable and goat’s cheese salad from Pizza Express contained 5g of salt.

It was found that even foods targeting the health-conscious consumer, such as detoxification salads contained very high salt levels. Pizza Express markets their leggera salmon salad as containing less than 500 calories, but it contains 2.4g of salt. The chicken detox box from Pod Food contains 4g of salt.

As far as supermarkets are concerned, Morrison’s was the worst offender. Its chicken and bacon pasta salad contained 2.8g of salt.

The next on the list was the Marks & Spencer chicken, bacon and sweet corn pasta salad which contained 2.58g.

The healthier options included Boots Shapers’ Moroccan style roasted vegetable salad and the chicken salad with Caesar dressing from Cafe Nero which both contained 0.5g of salt.

The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry said that manufacturers are aware that salt is enticing, but show little respect for the targets which have been agreed upon with Government.

A nutritionist at CASH, Sonia Pombo, said that most people envision something healthy when they think of a salad, however this is not the case as manufacturers continue to load it with salt.

A spokesman from McDonald’s said its crispy chicken and bacon salad contains a quarter of the recommended daily salt allowance, which is within the guidelines.

A spokesman from Pizza Express said they offer low salt options, which start from 0.3g per salad serving. He added that it is no secret that two of the eight salads on its menu are higher in salt.

A spokesman from Morrison’s said that they are continuing their hard work in the reduction of salt in their products.

Image Credit: Zaskoda

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Robert Wiltshire

Robert is a part-time writer and enjoys screen writing when his schedule allows. A keen writer, Robert graduated in 2002 from Warwick University with a 2:1 in Creative Writing. Hobbies include; Mountain Biking, Keeping Fit and Cooking

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