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Revealed: ‘Healthy’ food chains are packing their meals with as much salt as 30 bags of Walkers crisps
- Researchers for the Daily Mail discovered sky-high salt content in many dishes
- A Wagamama dish had nearly double the daily salt limit of six grams as per NHS
Popular fast-food chains have been packing as much salt as 30 bags of Walkers crisps into some of their meals – but not the chains you might think.
Researchers for the Daily Mail found dishes at ‘healthy’ high-street eateries containing huge amounts of salt, including one at the Japanese food chain Wagamama with nearly double the daily salt limit of six grams recommended by the NHS.
Wagamama, which has 164 locations across the UK, boasts of its ‘obsession with fresh nourishment’, but the chain’s chicken gyoza ramen dish contains a hefty 10.12 grams of salt – equivalent to 30 packs of Walkers Ready Salted at 0.34 grams per bag. Meanwhile its teriyaki vegan ‘chicken’ ramen choice packs 7.96 grams of salt, equivalent to 23 bags.
Rival Wasabi, which has 47 UK restaurants, boasts a ‘healthy lunchtime alternative to the humble sandwich’.
But a large vegan chi’king katsu curry yakisoba at the chain contains an equally high 9.4 grams of salt.
Wagamama, which has 164 locations across the UK, boasts of its ‘obsession with fresh nourishment’, but the chain’s chicken gyoza ramen dish contains a hefty 10.12 grams of salt (stock image of Wagamama dishes)
The World Health Organisation warns too much salt is as harmful as smoking, and can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. Japanese street food chain Yo Sushi, which has 70 branches around the UK, also puts 6.2 grams of salt in its vegetable gyoza & shiitake mushroom. And diners at Itsu’s 74 outlets are consuming almost six grams of salt with some dishes.
That’s despite the chain boasting it serves up dishes infused with ‘health and happiness’.
Clare Thornton-Wood, of the British Dietetic Association, said: ‘The meals from these chains would often be perceived as ‘healthy’ with the use of vegetables and vegetable protein sources or lean meat, but the salt content means they are much less healthy than they seem.’
Sonia Pombo, campaign lead and nutritionist at Action on Salt, said: ‘It’s shocking that these meals are excessively high in salt which means an adult can consume their maximum daily recommended salt intake in just one dish without even knowing it. Despite the overwhelming impact on health, many companies appear to have forgotten that too much salt is a killer.’
‘Now is the time for the food industry to act and improve the nutritional quality of the foods they sell, and if they can’t do it voluntarily, then the Government must step in and legislate, for the benefit of our health.’
A spokesman for Wasabi said it offers a large number of low salt dishes, and Julian Metcalfe, founder of Itsu, added: ‘Eating well is about balance; Asian food is among the healthiest in the world despite its high salt content, which usually comes from miso and seaweed, both considered healthy ingredients.
‘We offer all our customers low sodium soy sauce.’ Yo Sushi said it has improved the levels of sodium in its products. Wagamama did not comment.