Healthy living

People unaware of hidden salt in their diet

bread and cereals contain a lot of salt Bread, meat and cereals worst offenders

Over three quarters of people don't know that bread and cereals are among the top salt-containing foods in their diet, according to a new study.

In a survey of 2,267 people carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), 73% of people questioned thought crisps and snacks contributed most salt to their diet, followed by ready meals (65%) and meat products (36%).

Only 13% of people mentioned bread and 12% thought cereals were among the top ten salt-containing foods in their diet. Most people thought foods which tasted the saltiest were the worst offenders rather than the every-day foods which we eat most often.

The survey also revealed that many people (40%) thought that supermarket value ranges contributed the most salt to their diets. However, in these budget conscious times, the good news is that this is not always the case. Some "big brand” foods actually contain more salt than their supermarket equivalent.

The FSA strongly advises everyone to check the labels. On average, people in the UK are eating 8.6g of salt a day - most from everyday foods such as bread and cereals. We should all be aiming to cut down to 6g of salt a day, preferably less!

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition at the FSA, said: "We are not suggesting people stop eating or even cut down on bread and breakfast cereals, because they are an important part of a healthy diet. But we are saying take a look at the labels to find one that is lower in salt.

"This could be a supermarket own-label product, and maybe one from the "value" range. If so, any cost saving is an added bonus."

Past research has shown that high salt levels in a person's diet put them at increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

This article was published on Mon 5 October 2009

Image © Chien Lee -

Related Stories

Use this story

Link to this page
Printer friendly version

Share this page