Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Chinese food should include warning labels over salt levels for better health

Chinese food should include warning labels over salt levels for better health

With over 22 million takeaways eaten every week in the United Kingdom alone, understanding the health impacts of these foods is a significant concern. Over half (58%) contained more than 3g of salt per dish - half of the recommended daily intake in the United Kingdom, 6g of salt (the World Health Organization recommends no more than 5g of salt).

United Kingdom nonprofit, Action on Salt, picked up 141 supermarket-ready meals as well as offerings of six restaurants in London's Chinatown.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals are also extremely high in salt with some containing more than two pizzas, while certain rice dishes have more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps, according to Action on Salt.

Further, the team of takeaway planned of buying food from six different restaurants, from the famous Chinatown lane, to find out the level of salt contained in the food.

Some of these dinners contain half of a grown-up's prescribed day to day recompense is just a single dish.

Beef in black bean sauce dishes were the saltiest on average (1.27 grams per 100-gram serving), whilst sweet and sour dishes were the least (0.54 grams per 100-gram serving).

In the six eateries tested at Queen Mary Hospital nearly all dishes contained 2g of salt or more per dish.

A file photo of a Chinese takeaway dish, July 29, 2008.

Action on Salt also examined the salt content of Chinese ready meals from popular supermarkets and found that some dishes had more than 4g of salt per pack.

More salt is included when customers include side dishes and plunging sauces to their dinners as these give about another 4 grams of salt for every individual. In addition, the highest amount of salt found in rice and noodle contained 11.50g salt that is equal to five times more than a Big Macs, indirectly its dragging towards severe toxic levels of salt.

It's been known for decades that too much salt in the diet raises blood pressure and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

"Our data shows food can be easily reformulated with lower levels of salt, so why haven't all companies acted responsibly?" said Sonia Pombo, campaign manager at Action on Salt.

The findings are concerning, and Action on Salt says that the first step towards tackling this issue is labeling - having a visual warning could help to make people more aware of how much salt they are consuming.

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