Canada’s Fast Food among the World’s Saltiest: Expert
The salt content of fast food sold in Canada is some of the highest in the world.
“If these were the food Olympics, (Canada) would have gold and silver in every category for salt content,” said Dr. Norman Campbell, the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Canadian chair in hypertension prevention and control, and one of the authors of a new study that compares more than 2,100 fast food items sold in Canada to products sold by the same chains in Britain, the United States, Australia, France, and New Zealand.
The fast food industry has long argued that cutting salt content involves a timely process of menu revision and product reformation.
“It is, to a certain extent, absurd. Canadians are being misled,” said Dr. Campbell.
French fries in Canada contain, on average, 560 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams. In France the average is 200 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of fries. Then consider burgers: burgers sold in Canada contain 520 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams, and in Britain the amount is 440 milligrams per 100 grams.
Canada’s federal government recently scrapped plans to set maximums for the amounts of sodium that can be added to breads, soups, sauces, and other food items. The food industry is instead being encouraged by the government to cut the salt content of foods on its’ own.
The average Canadian consumes 3,400 milligrams of salt every day, which is well above the 2,300 milligram level at which health problems start to become a concern. High salt intake increases the risk for high blood pressure, kidney disease, and other health problems.
A good way to avoid excessive salt in your diet is to pay close attention to the Ingredients labels of products you buy when grocery shopping.