Chinese takeout has so much salt it should carry a 'health warning,' UK advocacy group says

March 16, 2018 by Laura Petrecca, Usa Today
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A UK advocacy group has added a little extra salt to sodium's existing wounds.

Action on Salt, which calls for measures such as placing cautionary labels on high-salt chain restaurant foods, scrutinized the salt in Chinese food taken home from U.K. supermarkets and restaurants.

It found:

* Some restaurant takeout meals contained as much salt as five Big Macs, which have 2.3 grams of salt each.

* One sweet and sour dish had 3.4 grams of salt, the same as in 70 Ritz Crackers

* Two hoisin duck spring rolls and about three teaspoons of dark soy sauce contained 3.82 grams of salt, more salt than nine servings of salted peanuts.

"Chinese meals should carry a health warning," Action on Salt said in a press release.

That comes on the heels of a March 5 report in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension,which warned that a healthy diet may not offset the effects of high sodium intake in elevating .

Researchers examined pre-existing data from 4,680 middle-age adults in the U.S., Japan, China and the UK., and found those consuming greater amounts of salt had higher blood pressure, even if the person's overall diet was healthy.

The U.S. federal government's 2015—2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. One teaspoon of salt is roughly equal to 2,300 mg.

Most adults eat more—an average of more than 3,400 mg each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A small amount of sodium is needed for bodies to work properly, the CDC said, but excessive amounts can put people at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Salt "is definitely one of the worse problems in the American diet," said Bonnie Liebman,director of nutrition at the food advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Like Action on Salt, the center also wants warnings next to menu items with a day's worth or more of sodium. The American Heart Association also supports more information on menu labeling, including sodium details, and backs lowering the daily value for sodium.

And in some instances, government agencies have joined the campaign to cut sodium consumption.

"Public health officials have started to push industry to stop dumping so much salt into our foods," says Liebman.

The New York City Board of Health requires salt shaker symbols next to chain restaurant food that has more than 2,300 mg of . In January, the Philadelphia City Council introduced similar legislation.

Salt industry trade group The Salt Institute, however, says the 2,300 daily recommended amount "may be on the low side of the safe range."

The group issued a press release noting that "Salt Awareness Week"—which runs from March 12 to March 18—is a time to note the nutritional value of . Action on Salt also capitalized on "Salt Awareness Week" in releasing its Chinese food information.

"Salt is the flavor of life and this year we should all recognize its many benefits," said Salt Institution President Lori Roman in a statement.

Explore further: Healthy diet may not offset high salt intake

Related Stories

Healthy diet may not offset high salt intake

March 5, 2018
A healthy diet may not offset the effects of a high salt intake on blood pressure, suggests a new study.

Spicy food may curb unhealthy cravings for salt

October 31, 2017
Chinese subjects who enjoyed spicy foods appeared to eat less salt and have lower blood pressure, potentially reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal ...

Salt, inflammation and hypertension

November 14, 2017
Although dietary salt intake positively correlates with blood pressure, the mechanisms linking salt to hypertension are not well understood.

Kicking the salt shaker habit may not be enough

May 8, 2017
Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal ...

Salt and sodium intake remains high in China

February 16, 2016
Yongning Wu, Ph.D., of the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment, Beijing, China, and colleagues compared salt and sodium consumption in China in 2000 with 2009-2012. The study appears in the February 16 issue ...

Bread, cereal drive UK children's high salt diet

March 10, 2014
Children in London eat an unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis—with much of it coming from breads and cereals, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Recommended for you

Study compares athlete and truck driver, identical twins

July 20, 2018
When it comes to being fit, are genes or lifestyle—nature or nurture—more important? Researchers at San Francisco State University, CSU Fullerton and Cal Poly, Pomona removed the nature part of the equation by studying ...

Secondhand smoke causing thousands of still births in developing countries

July 20, 2018
The study reveals that more than 40% of all pregnant women in Pakistan are exposed to secondhand smoke—causing approximately 17,000 still births in a year.

Eating iron-fortified grain improves students' attention, memory

July 18, 2018
Adolescent students in a rural school in India who consumed an iron-biofortified version of the grain pearl millet exhibited improved attention and memory compared to those who consumed conventional pearl millet, according ...

Sugar improves memory in over-60s, helping them work smarter

July 18, 2018
Sugar improves memory in older adults – and makes them more motivated to perform difficult tasks at full capacity – according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Vaping tied to blood clots—in mice

July 18, 2018
A new study involving mice raises another concern about the danger of e-cigarettes in humans after experiments showed that short-term exposure to the device's vapors appeared to increase the risk of clot formation.

Lowering hospitals' Medicare costs proves difficult

July 18, 2018
A payment system that provides financial incentives for hospitals that reduce health-care costs for Medicare patients did not lower costs as intended, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.