The salads and healthy pastas we buy to eat well may not be as good for us as we think. Campaigners say a lot of supposedly healthy food should carry a health warning because of the high salt content. The British pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) reported recently that many take-away salads and other foods aimed at the health conscious actually contain more salt than a Big Mac and fries. This means many British people are unknowingly overdosing on salt on a regular, if not daily, basis. This report comes hot on the heels of an earlier CASH finding that many pre-packaged sandwiches are up to seven times saltier than a bag of potato chips. The danger is that high salt consumption causes high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
CASH looked at 156 readymade salads and pasta dishes from Britain’s leading food retailers and fast-food outlets. The researchers discovered that compared with a Big Mac and small fries, which has 2.7 grams of salt, a noodle salad from a chain called EAT contained 4.4 grams per portion. This is almost three-quarters of the 6-gram recommended daily salt limit for an adult. Twenty per cent of the meals contained more salt than is ideal. Professor Graham MacGregor of CASH said: "Many people think of a salad as a healthy lunch [and] in many cases this is true.” He added: “We would encourage people to look out for low-salt, low-fat salads as a good lunchtime option.” However, he warned: “There are some salads out there which really ought to carry a health warning, rather than be thought of as a healthy option.”