Monday, 2 April 2007

How to Be a Salt Detective

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently launched a series of TV ads to show people how to check food labels for salt content. The FSA says that three quarters of the salt we eat is already hidden in the food we buy.

Did you know that ready meals, sandwiches and pizza are some of the biggest sources of hidden salt? Other sources are some brands of bread, baked beans, soup, hot chocolate, breakfast cereals, cakes, and meat products like ham, sausages and bacon.

More facts about salt:

A pack of food with 1 gram of sodium contains more salt than one with 1 gram of salt. Multiply the amount of sodium by 2.5 to find the amount of salt eaten.

High salt content is 1.25 g or more of salt per 100g (or 0.5 grams or more of sodium).

Low salt is 0.25g or less of salt per 100g (or 0.1g sodium or less per 100g)

There is always a lower-salt option.

There is too much salt in processed food so it makes sense to cut down on your intake of processed food.

You can't always taste the salt in some products. Salt, like crime, is sometimes lurking in the most unlikely places.

The ideal daily salt consumption is 6g (that's the target the government has set for 2010) but the average daily consumption is 9g.

Too much salt can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease, according to Betty McBride of the British Heart Foundation.

You can do your heart a favour by checking the salt content in foods and switching to a lower salt option.

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