You might want to pass on that sweet and sour pork, if your blood pressure is high. A new analysis of more than 150 Chinese dishes has found many of them contain such high levels of salt they should carry a warning label because they may pose heart risks.
The analysis — by the advocacy group Action on Salt, backed by 25 expert scientific members — found some some popular some popular Chinese food dishes are more salty than a Big Mac.
The study authors are calling on policymakers to make health labeling mandatory.
“Our data shows that food can be easily reformulated with lower levels of salt, so why haven’t all companies acted responsibly?” said Sonia Pombo, Campaign Manager at Action on Salt in a release issued with the study findings.
“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. This week, as part of Salt Awareness Week, we are asking everyone, including the food industry, to think first and use less salt.”
The researchers said sweet sour pork, Kung Pao chicken, Mapo tofu, and other popular dishes sold in supermarkets and at restaurants have such high salt levels they could pose health impacts of “significant concern” .
Out of the tested foods:
97 percent contained a hefty 2 grams of salt or more per dish.
58 percent contained more than 3 grams of salt per dish — more than half of the daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization recommends (5 grams).
“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Salt.
“Reducing salt is the most cost effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease.”
For more information, visit the Action on Salt Website at www.actiononsalt.org.uk.
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