Chinese fast food might give you high blood pressure; it can have the same salt content as TEN bags of chips

An investigation has revealed that Chinese fast food, which contains “harmful amounts of salt,” should come with a health warning. Campaigners in Britain revealed that favorites like sweet and sour chicken and egg fried rice are some of the worst offenders. Action on Salt, the group of specialists that carried out the investigation, urged health authorities to set “tough new targets, make warning labels mandatory, and slap hazard signs on restaurant menus.”

The group’s analysis revealed that a whopping 97 percent of take out food from six independent restaurants in London’s Chinatown had two grams (g) of salt or more per dish. Over 50 percent had more than three grams of salt per dish, which is already half the maximum recommended daily intake in just one portion.

The saltiest take out main dish with a rice/noodle side dish had 11.50 g of salt, which is the same as five Big Macs. This amount is dangerously close to acute toxic levels of salt.

Meanwhile, in the supermarket, the saltiest Chinese ready meal was Slimming World’s Chinese Style Banquet Rice which has 4.40 g of salt per 550 g pack. This is already more salt than two store-bought Pizza Express margherita pizzas. Other dishes had more salt than 11 bags of salted crisps.

Out of the 141 ready meals surveyed, 43 percent had a high salt content of more than 1.5 g/100 g or 1.8 g per portion. Per the campaigners, these foods should receive a red warning label on the front of the pack.

Sonia Pombo, a member of Action on Salt, explained that since their data revealed that food can be easily reformulated with lower salt levels, it’s strange that not all companies are starting to act responsibly. She continued, “The lack of front-of-pack color-coded labeling on branded products makes it incredibly difficult for consumers to make healthier choices and that is simply unacceptable.”

Last March, the campaign group called for Public Health England (PHE) to take immediate action. Action on Salt said that every time salt is reduced by one gram, at least 7,000 deaths are prevented in Britain. At least 4,000 of these deaths are premature (e.g. caused by strokes and heart disease). (Related: Fast food diets causing majority of stroke and diabetes deaths across U.S.)

The average adult shouldn’t consume more than six grams, or one teaspoon, of salt daily. But according to recent studies, most individuals consume at least twice the amount. Foods rich in salt include common items such as bread, breakfast cereals, cakes, and cheese. Consuming foods rich in salt may cause high blood pressure, and people with high salt levels are at least three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. In Britain, high blood pressure affects over one in four adults. The condition is caused by age, weight, and high salt consumption.

Dr. Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist, concluded that while salt consumption in the country has gone down over the past 10 years, a lot of food products still have a high salt content. The best thing to do would be to urge manufacturers to cooperate and reduce the salt levels of their products.

Healthy snack alternatives for your salt cravings

If you’re craving something salty, skip the Chinese fast food and try some of these healthy snacks instead:

  • Edamame — Eat some edamame with a very light sprinkling of salt for a quick protein boost.
  • Hummus and carrots — Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are full of protein and antioxidants. You can make your own hummus and eat it with some carrots for a crunchy and savory snack.
  • Kale chips — Eat some kale chips instead of reaching for a pack of potato chips. You can even make some kale chips at home by baking the versatile leafy green vegetable.
  • Nuts — Another source of protein, nuts are also a great snack. Snack on some almonds, cashews, or walnuts instead of Chinese fast food.
  • Olives — Olives contain iron, and it also has cardiovascular benefits.

You can learn more about the dangers of unhealthy fast food at

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