Convenience meals saltier than ever

A study has revealed that some ready-to-go meals available for purchase contain an entire day’s worth of salt in a single serve.

The research published by The George Institute for Global Health and VicHealth, found that of the surveyed products, the average meal contained 50% of an adults recommended daily salt content, while some contain the maximum amount of salt.

The salt content of 1,478 meals was examined across ready meals including pasta, curry, noodle dishes as well as meat and vegetable meals.

Results revealed a 31% increase in the salt content of chilled ready-to-go meals, the category which has also experienced the biggest growth with four times as many products available in 2017 as compared to 2014.

The George Institute’s public health nutritionist Clare Farrand said the convenience of a prepared meal could come at the cost of health.

“In choosing a convenience meal from the supermarket, many people don’t realise they might be choosing to eat on average half their recommended daily salt intake in a single serving alone, putting their health at risk,” she told UNSW Newsroom.

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly said reducing the amount of salt in processed and packaged foods would be save thousands of lives each year.

“Until there is a commitment to reformulate these foods with less salt, we’ll continue to see an increase in the number of Australians with high blood pressure – a major contributor to heart disease and a condition that already affects close to six million Australian,” she told UNSW Newsroom.

Australia is committed to reducing the population’s salt intake by 30%, by the year 2025.


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