A study carried out in 5 countries published in the online magazine BMJ Open has measured the salt content of its processed products , placing the United States in second place.
The first is led by China. The last one is for the UK. Still, salt levels within and between the countries studied varied widely, by product and brand.
Risk of hypertension
The study focused on the salt content of meat and fish products processed in three developed and two developing countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, China and South Africa. Products for the study were sourced from major supermarket chains in the five countries and nutrition labels of foods were scanned for salt (sodium) content (mg / 100g).
Processed meat products were classified into : alternatives to meat; bacon; canned meat; frozen meat; meat burgers; salami and cold cuts; sausages and hot dogs; sliced meat; dried meat; spreads and spreads; skewers "other" meat products; raw flavored meats; whole hams and similar products; grilled chicken; and unflavored raw meats. The processed fish products were classified as : canned; cooled; frozen; and others.
A total of 33,955 processed meat and fish product labels were scanned, of which 7455 (22%) were excluded due to missing or duplicate information, leaving 26,500 (78%) products for analysis. The total number ranged from 885 for the United Kingdom to 17,098 for the United States.
In general, China had the highest salt level (1050 mg / 100 g) for all products, which ranks it as the country with the most salty products for both meat (1066 mg / 100 g) and products fisheries (942 mg / 100 g), followed by the United States, South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom (432 mg / 100 g).
For example, the salt content of roast chicken in China was 4.5 times higher than that of the same product in the UK (893 mg / 100 g vs 197 mg / 100 g); chilled fish in China was 4.5 times saltier than in the United States (1744 mg / 100 g vs. 389 mg / 100 g).
But the average salt content of meat products was lower in Australia (580mg / 100g) than in the UK (590mg / 100g).
High salt intake in the diet is one of the main causes of high blood pressure and the associated risks of cardiovascular and kidney disease and death. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum salt intake of 2000 mg / day. But the average global salt intake in 2010 was about double.
Based on these findings, if 100 g of meat and fish products are eaten a day , the average sodium intake would represent a little more than 47% of the daily maximum recommended by the WHO in China and the United States, 37% in South Africa, almost 35% in Australia, and 27% in the United Kingdom.