Healthy living

Hidden salt in "Free From" foods

always check the label Salt levels higher than in standard foods

Many supermarket own-label "Free From" foods contain higher amounts of salt than their standard equivalents, according to new research.

In the survey, Consensus Action on Salt Health (CASH) examined 71 supermarket own-label products from the "Free-From" foods, where the products were described as dairy, wheat or gluten free. These were then compared to the supermarket's standard version.

Over half of the "Free From" foods were found to contain higher salt levels than the equivalent version, and one Free From food contained more than six times as much salt. Only 26.7% of the 40 foods tested were found to have lower salt levels.

Typical examples of the survey results included Sainsbury's Free From Jaffa cakes which had 0.67g of salt per 100g, compared with 0.1g of salt per 100g in standard Sainsbury's Jaffa Cakes and Tesco's Free From Chocolate Chip Cookies which had 1.3g of salt per 100g compared with 0.5g in the standard version.

Katherine Jenner, CASH Campaign Manager and nutritionist, said people with food allergies and intolerances shouldn't have to risk their health further by eating high-salt "Free From" foods.

She also pointed out that most of the foods surveyed were cakes, biscuits and pastries, foods which people often don't expect to be salty.

"We would encourage people to choose the lower salt products", she said.

Graham MacGregor, Chairman of CASH and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, said: "Salt puts up our blood pressure, which is the major risk factor for strokes, heart failure and heart disease, the leading causes of death and disability in the UK."

"Keeping salt consumption below the recommended maximum limit of 6g a day for adults is vital for all of us," he added.

This article was published on Thu 24 September 2009

Image © Monkey Business -

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