New research reveals alarming levels of salt and fat in Britain's takeaway pizzas

March 27, 2012, Queen Mary, University of London

(Medical Xpress) -- New research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) at Queen Mary, University of London and the Association of London Environmental Health Managers (ALEHM) for National Salt Awareness Week 2012 reveals massive differences in the salt and fat content between takeaway pizzas and those purchased from supermarkets.

Salt Awareness Week 2012 (26 March - 1 April) highlights that a high in can lead to raised blood pressure, tripling the risk of having a stroke. As 75 per cent of the salt we eat is hidden in our food, CASH are urging manufacturers to stop hiding salt, and fat, in our food.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health is a group of specialists concerned with salt and its effects on health. They are based at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary.

“It is surprising there is still so much salt hidden in every day foods,” says Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director of CASH. “It should be up to us how much salt we eat, but whilst there is so much salt in our food, people are unable to choose a healthier diet and are therefore putting themselves at risk of a stroke. This is why we are highlighting hidden sources of salt in our food for Salt Awareness Week. ”

The survey, which is the most comprehensive yet, looked at 199 margherita and pepperoni pizzas, analysed from local takeaways, pizza chains and leading supermarkets across the country. The study showed that takeaway pizzas were the highest in salt, containing up to two and a half times more salt than the average supermarket pizza (2.73g vs 1.08g salt per 100g of pizza). Adam & Eve, a takeaway pizza outlet, was found to be selling a pizza saltier than sea water, containing a huge 2.73g per 100g.

Top 5 saltiest takeaway pizzas:

The Adam & Eve Pepperoni Pizza - 2.73g salt per 100g (10.57g per 388g pizza)
La Viva Italia Pepperoni Pizza - 2.43g salt per 100g (10.68g per 439.6g pizza)
Ciao Bella Pepperoni Pizza - 2.21g salt per 100g (9.22g per 417.4g pizza)
Ciao Bella Margherita Pizza – 2.13g per 100g (7.69g per 361.8g pizza)
Il Mascal Zone Pepperoni Pizza - 2.08g salt per 100g (9.21g per 443g pizza)

Half of all the takeaway pizzas surveyed contain a person’s entire 6g maximum daily recommendation for salt per pizza. An entire pepperoni pizza from ‘The Adam & Eve’ or ‘La Viva Italia’ contains more than 10g of salt.

Top 5 saltiest pizzas from supermarkets

Tesco Full-on-flavour Simply Pepperoni thin stone-baked pizza (fresh)- 1.8g salt/100g (4.77g per 265g pizza)
Iceland Stonebaked Spicy Double Pepperoni Pizza (frozen) - 1.7g salt/100g (6.29g per 370g pizza)
Morrisons Extra Thin Triple Pepperoni Pizza (frozen) - 1.7g salt/100g (5.81g per 342g pizza)
Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pepperoni Salame (frozen) - 1.68g salt/100g (5.36g per 320g pizza)
Dr. Oetker Casa di Mama Pizza Quattro Formaggi (frozen) - 1.6g salt/100g (6.32g per 395g pizza)

CASH is using Salt Awareness Week 2012 to raise awareness of the serious risk of developing high blood pressure as a result of eating too much salt. High triples the risk of heart disease and stroke. Stroke is the third highest killer in the UK, with two-thirds of those who suffer from a stroke either dying or left disabled. Many of these deaths and disabilities can be prevented by simply eating less salt.

CASH’s tips for eating pizzas with less salt

Where available, check the labels for less salt
Choose toppings carefully, avoid salty ingredients such as bacon, pepperoni and extra cheese
When eating out, ask for less cheese
For a full list of higher and lower salt toppings, go to our website at www.actiononsalt.org.uk

Explore further: Industrial salt sold as food salt in Iceland for 13 years

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