Restaurants run by Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc were all found to serve meals unhealthily high in salt, while experimental chef Heston Blumenthal’s meals came in at a respectable 1.5g of salt or lower.
Other guilty players on the high street included McDonald’s, Subway and Pizza Hut. A huge 93% of dishes served at family restaurant Pizza Hut were found to contain more than 2.4g of salt, while Dominos pepperoni passion pizzas are loaded with 4.8g of salt.
The figures, which were compiled by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), have been released alongside a survey of public opinion. Over half (54%) of the 1,100 respondents said they thought restaurant meals were too salty, while nine out of 10 say restaurants should give customers the chance to opt out of salt if they want.
Tracy Parker, dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We’re all eating too much salt and with one in six meals being eaten out of the home, it’s important to keep an eye on our salt intake all the time.”
She believes restaurants should provide nutritional labels alongside their menus so customers know exactly what they’re eating. She also urges chefs to use less salt in their cooking and to give diners a choice.
The Department of Health predicts that if every person knocked just 1g of salt from their diets every day, 4,147 fewer people would die every year, saving the NHS around £288 million.
Tips for avoiding salt in restaurants include:
- Don’t go for bacon, gammon or pork meals as these meats are very high in salt.
- Don’t add table salt to your meal.
- Check the restaurant’s website before hand as these often give details of nutrition content.
Salt adds flavour to food and sudden reductions can result in unsatisfied customers. Reducing our salt intake will take time because it takes time to adjust to new flavours. However, if we all make a conscious effort to reduce our salt consumption, we may be able to stave off serious health problems.
Find out more about eating a Balanced Diet.
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