Fast-food nation: New report suggests law change on takeaway salt content

Fast-food nation: New report suggests law change on takeaway salt content

A study by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University for the journal Appetite has called for a change in the law on the salt content of popular British takeaway dishes, after revealing ‘alarmingly high’ salt content in many dishes, reports The Independent.

The study looked at more than 400 meals from 23 different types of takeaway outlets located in the North West.

After analysing the content of each dish, the report concluded that some fast-food meals contain more than twice an adults’ daily requirement of salt. The worst offenders were takeaway pizzas, with 9.45g of salt, with Chinese food second on 8.1g and kebabs third on 6.2g.

The NHS guideline for salt intake is around 6g per day for adults, which is roughly the equivalent of a teaspoon. Some dishes in the survey contained several times this level. One portion of prawn chow mein tested had 21g of salt.

The university study showed that none of the 23 different types of cuisine offered a meal with a third or less of the daily requirement and in most cases salt content was as much as half. With salt content that high, it would be almost impossible to stick to the recommended daily intake after consuming other meals during the day.

Dietary salt is known to increase the risk of a person developing high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of developing heart attacks, angina and strokes. High salt diets have also been implicated in increasing the risk of developing kidney stones, stomach cancer, asthma and osteoporosis.

It is thought that lowering national salt consumption by just 10% could lead to 6,000 fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.

The university study believes that the answer to this problem would lie in new legislation. Studies have shown that consumption of processed foods and takeaways are on the increase, with the average Briton eating at least one takeaway per week.

Katherine Jenner is the campaign director for the action group CASH, the Consensus Action on Salt and Health.

“Legislation for salt reduction has been adopted by other countries, namely South Africa, but in the UK it could take years – in which time thousands more will have died from strokes, heart attacks and heart failure,” she told The Independent.


‘Change the law to cut salt in our takeaways’ (The Independent)

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