High blood pressure is a growing problem in the UK with 16 million people now thought to be at risk of premature death.
Sufferers are advised to reduce the amount of salt in their diet, with the NHS attributing 75 per cent of our salt intake on ready-made and processed foods, such as bread, cereal, soups, baked beans, and even biscuits.
However, now a popular sauce has been called out as being one of the worst offenders when it comes to salt content.
A survey by Consumer Action on Salt and Health (CASH) based at Queen Mary University of London found that some pesto products contain high levels of salt, with certain brands even increasing levels.
Researchers found that leading pesto brand Sacla has increased levels of salt in their Italia Pesto No.1 Classic Basil by 18 per cent since 2009.
The brand’s Italia Organic Vegetarian Pesto No.5 Basil contains 32 per cent more salt.
Both products were found by CASH, at 3.30g of salt per 100g, to be 30 per cent saltier than seawater and contain 2.5 times more salt than salted peanuts.
Additionally, Sacla products were not found to have the Department of Health’s colour-coded nutrition information on their label.
A spokesperson for Sacla said: “We work hard to make authentic Italian products which are good quality, safe to eat and should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.”
CASH are calling for Public Health England to be tough on manufacturers who fail to meet 2017 Salt Reduction Targets.
They looked at a range of pesto products and found that 40 per cent exceeded the salt average target for pesto sauces.
With pesto now used in sandwiches and on pizza, as well as in pasta dishes, this is particularly concerning.
However, some brands had decreased the salt content of their pesto sauces since 2009.
Jamie Oliver Green Pesto had 70 per cent less salt at 0.9g per 100g, Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Pesto Alla Genovese contained 69 per cent less salt at 0.99g per 100g and Waitrose Pesto Alla Genovese came in at 45 per cent less salt at 1.10g per 100g.
Sarah Alderton, Assistant Nutritionist at CASH explained: “Pesto is an everyday product eaten by adults and children alike, but people might not realise just how salty it can be.
“That’s why it’s important to check the label; switching from a high to lower salt option could really help to reduce your salt intake.”
It is recommended people consume less than 6g of salt a day.
Consuming too much can increase blood pressure which could lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Published at Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:13:00 +0000