Takeaway food is undeniably popular. It’s convenient, whether eaten at home or when out and about, and it can be tasty. Unfortunately, a recent study* has confirmed what many nutritionists have long suspected: we should all be wary about dangerous amounts of salt in our takeaways.

Researchers analysed more than 400 samples of 23 different takeaway hot meals. The salt content varied in different samples of the same food, but the overall pattern showed that most of these meals contained an alarming amount of salt. For some of them a single portion contained more salt than an adult’s daily recommended intake of 6 grams per day.

Out of the meals analysed, pizza came out worst, averaging over 9g of salt per portion, followed by Chinese food with 8g. Then came kebabs with 6g of salt and Indian meals with nearly 5g.

There was quite a variation in salt levels in each type of food, but for pizzas even the lowest amount was more than an adult should consume in a day, and the worst portion of pizza contained more than two day’s worth of salt!

And remember that this needs to be added to all the rest of the salt consumed with other foods and snacks in the course of the day.

Eating food that contains a lot of salt just once in a while is unlikely to be harmful. But the overwhelming evidence shows high salt consumption is associated with raised blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

It is possible that some people may be more sensitive than others to the harmful effects of salt but, as there is no simple way of differentiating this, it’s sensible for us all to stick to the recommendations.

And if we all start avoiding high salt content snacks and meals, it won’t be long before those preparing these foods will feel the need to modify their recipes – to the benefit of us all.


*Link to the study http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2012.06.018,


Professor Brian Kirby, co-author of How to Live to 110: Your comprehensive guide to a healthy life

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