Heart Foundation Dietian Sian Armstrong,joins Dave to talk about the high salt content of some veggie and bean savoury snacks which consumers may think are healthier than they really are.
Some key points:
-Savoury snacks like veg-based chips or legume-based snacks are perceived to have a ‘health halo’ so may be a product of choice for some health-conscious consumers or families.
-But research by the George Institute for Global Health, Vichealth and the Heart Foundation found some of these veg-based and legume-based products are hiding alarming amounts of salt.
-The saltiest product was a veg-based kale chip containing a whopping 7.8 grams of salt per 100g. The kale chip was 26 times saltier than the lowest veggie product, a lightly salted sweet potato chip (0.3g salt per 100g).
-Another top category salt offender, a legume-based lentil chip (3.4g salt per 100g), had seven times more salt than its lower salt counterpart, pizza-flavoured fava beans (0.49g salt per 100g).
-The number of legume-based snack products, like lentil chips or roasted fava beans has nearly doubled (183%) since 2013 – the biggest increase we found. Overall, savoury snack products have grown by 45%.
-Shoppers should treat the marketing claims that surround these packaged products with caution as our research shows the veggie snack products that were highest AND lowest in salt both claimed to be ‘lightly salted’.
-Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure – a major risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease –that can lead to premature death and disability.
-Nearly 50% of heart disease deaths in Australia are attributable to high blood pressure.
The easiest way for consumers to compare processed snacks is by reading the nutrition label and picking the lower salt option – less than 400mg sodium per 100g is OK, less than 120 mg sodium per 100g is best.
-We need food manufacturers to reduce salt in their processed snacks – the wide range in salt levels of these products demonstrates that it can be done over time without affecting the consumer’s perception of taste.
-And while we welcome the Government’s recent endorsement of the first wave of salt targets – we need these targets to be implemented and monitored to ensure food manufacturers achieve them.