I’m sure we’ve all had our fill of rubbish food news sent to remind us that everything we eat is bad and we’ll soon be doomed to a diet free from all the things we really enjoy. But the latest cuisine we’re supposed to be alert to is Chinese food because it’s apparently really high in salt…
On the one hand, no shit, of course our takeaways and supermarket ready meals are super salty. But on the other hand, it’s one of those things that we kind of know but don’t really care to acknowledge because sometimes a sweet and sour, crispy chilli beef, five spring rolls, egg fried rice and a bag of prawn crackers sounds like a way better idea than a chickpea and kale salad on a Saturday night.
Perhaps we need to approach with caution, though, because in a survey released today it’s been found that some of the worst Chinese takeaway dishes have as much salt as five, yes FIVE, McDonald’s Big Macs.
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1. Raspberry And Coconut Energy Bites
Remember when everyone was going crazy for 'energy balls'? Well, it's not too late to get involved. And if you're going to I'd recommend starting with this cute looking raspberry and coconut ones by My Fussy Eater. The matter of whether or not honey is considered vegan or not is hotly contested in the veganism world, but if you're of the opinion that no, honey is not vegan, then ditch the honey from the recipe, swap it for agave nectar or maple syrup and you've got yourself a really yummy healthy snack to munch on.
Action on Salt, a group of specialist health experts, examined oved 150 dishes and found that many of them scored way too highly on the salt scale. It’s particularly bad news if you’re a fan of beef with black bean sauce as the study found this dish to be the worst.
It’s not quite so gloomy if you tend to go for sweet and sour chicken as it was found to be one of the lowest ranking in the report, checking in at about 0.54g of salt for every 100g, but of course that varied quite a depending on where you bought from. Nevertheless, nearly half of the 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals that were looked at contained more than 1.8g of salt, which would constitute one of those red ‘this is really high and not ideal’ labels on those the little nutritional value indicators we get on most shop bought foods at the moment.
So, what's the sketch with salt anyway? Well, the official recommendation is that adults shouldn't eat more than 6g of salt a day, which is 2.4g sodium and the equivalent of a teaspoon. And as this study has demonstrated, it's really easy to exceed that in just the one meal.
Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also examined in the Action on Salt study; 97 percent of which turned out to contain more than 2g of salt and 58 percent of the dishes had more than 3g per portion. Then if you were to go adding sides, you would be at risk of going over the daily recommended amount of salt, probably without even noticing.
It's been recommend that these meals come with compulsory labelling on the front of the pack to make consumers more aware of just how dramatic our salt intake is affected by these sorts of foods. And considering the nasty health implications that come with salt heavy diets - namely high blood pressure - Action for Salt are calling for Public Health England to take action immediately in setting new salt reduction targets for food providers.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.