Take away restaurants promise to lower salt

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Blood pressure news

Take away restaurants promise to lower salt
21/11/2008

Key points

  • Fast food restaurants have committed to lowering their levels of salt and fat
  • Eating too much salt raises your blood pressure. People should eat no more than 6 grams of salt a day to avoid high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure causes strokes and heart attacks
  • Eating too much saturated and trans fats clogs up your arteries with cholesterol and raises your risk of strokes and heart attacks
  • Lowering salt and fat in fast food meals will help in the fight against strokes and heart disease caused by high blood pressure and high cholesterol

Six of Britain’s biggest fast-food restaurants have committed to making their burgers and sandwiches more healthy.

Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Subway and Wimpy have promised to lower the salt and saturated or trans fats in their meals to make them more heart and blood pressure friendly.

Up until now, a number of take away restaurants have not displayed information about the salt or fat contained in their meals, which has made it very hard to make healthy choices. Yet avoiding salt and reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats are two of the most important ways of preventing high blood pressure and heart attacks. And, many meals have contained up to 2/3rds of the daily recommended maximum of salt or saturated fat, putting people in danger of going over their daily limit.

Burger King has already reduced the amount of salt in its chicken bites (by 8% to 0.76g salt) and chicken breast in the flame grilled chicken salad (by 42% to 0.66g salt). It is committed:

  • to lower its meals’ salt levels further
  • trial cooking with a frying oil that has less saturated fat
  • provide booklets with the salt and fat content of all its meals in all its restaurants.

Example meal: The Whopper Burger (only)
Total Calories – 631 calories
Total Fat – 35 grams
Total Saturated Fat – 9 grams
Total Salt – 2.4 grams

KFC has already stopped adding salt to its fries (a reduction of 1g of salt per meal) and has removed up to 30% of the salt from all its meals. It has also changed its frying oil to one that has 1% less trans fats. It is committed to:

  • lower the salt in the tortillas of its twister meals
  • make further salt reductions to core ingredients of all its meals
  • produce a black pepper mayonnaise with less total and saturated fat
  • continue to display the fat and salt levels of meals on its tray liners.

Example meal: Zinger Burger (only)
Total Calories – 418 Calories
Total Fat – 20.8g
Total Saturated Fat – 2.3g
Total Salt – 2.8g

McDonald’s has already removed up to 30% of the salt from its buns and meats and 75% of the salt from its mayonnaise. It has also reformulated its cooking oils so that it contains less than 2% trans fats. It is committed to:

  • continue to make reductions to the salt and fat levels of its meals
  • continue to provide nutritional information about its meals on its packaging, and to introduce explanations of what the information means.

Example meal: Big Mac Burger (only)
Total Calories – 490 calories
Total Fat – 24 grams
Total Saturated Fat – 10 grams
Total Salt – 2.1 grams

Nando’s is committed to:

  • lower salt and fat levels in its meals, wherever possible in 2009
  • display nutritional information, including salt and fat levels, about its meals on its website.

Example meal – information is not currently available on Nando’s website

Subway has already started to reduce the salt and fat levels in its sandwiches and salads. It also provides an instore booklet of nutritional information about its meals. It is committed to:

  • providing free salad with all its sandwiches
  • reducing the salt content of its meals by 15% by June 2009
  • continue to supply instore booklets of up-to-date nutritional information.

Example meal – Meatball Marinara
Total Calories – 382 calories
Total Fat – 22.4 grams
Total Saturated Fat – 9.2 grams
Total Salt – 4.7 grams

Wimpy has already reduced the amount of salt in its ketchup and chicken meals. It also publishes the salt and fat levels of its meal in an instore booklet. It is committed to:

  • Reviewing the salt and fat content of its 10 most popular meals
  • Searching for a cooking oil that is lower in saturated fats
  • Continuing to provide its instore booklet of nutritional information.

Example meal: Wimpy Quarterpounder burger (only)
Total calories – 538 calories
Total Fat – 31.3 grams
Total Salt – 2.0 grams

How you can help yourself to avoid high blood pressure and heart attacks and stroke:


Topics: Lifestyle


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