Healthy living

Curry salt warning

Some contain "huge amounts" of salt

It may be the nation's favourite dish, but some curries contain "shockingly high" levels of salt, say food campaigners.

And a curry with all the side dishes such as naan bread, chutney, poppadoms, sag aloo can contain up to 20.5g of salt, charity Consensus Action on Salt (Cash) has said.

Currently in the UK we are advised to eat no more than 6g of salt a day. High levels of salt in our diet is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

In the survey of nearly 800 supermarket products, researchers found that an Iceland's frozen 450g chicken Tikka Balti contained 7.2g of salt compared with Sainsbury's Be Good to Yourself Chicken Korma with Pilau Rice containing just 0.91 g of salt.

Salt levels in typical curry side dishes varied considerably too. Over half the pickles and chutneys were saltier than Atlantic seawater, weight for weight, said the charity.

One Marks and Spencer Garlic and Coriander Naan was found to contain 3.2g of salt, more than half the recommended daily amount, and Pataks Plain Mini Pappadums contained 1.1g of salt per portion, the equivalent of more than two packets of crisps.

The spices added to crries often make it difficult for people to realise how salty they are said the charity, and added that we should all check the salt content on labels.

Cash chairman Professor Graham MacGregor, from the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: "It is the very high levels of unnecessary salt that are added to our food that puts up our blood pressure and leads to thousands of people needlessly dying of strokes, heart attacks and heart failures every year.

"The shockingly high levels of salt in many of these products mean that many people in the UK are consuming huge amounts of salt when they enjoy a curry.

"We urge all these manufacturers and providers to reduce their salt content immediately."

Cash nutritionist Katharine Jenner said: "A regular curry night is becoming a British institution, making these high salt levels extremely worrying.

"This survey shows salt can be hidden behind all the spices and chilli in your curry, even in side dishes and sauces. Add to this the lack of clear labelling on packaging and in takeaway restaurants, and it makes it very hard for consumers to choose a healthy option."

This article was published on Thu 29 April 2010

Image © robynmac -

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