Salt study places NZ mid-tier

Last updated 09:09 19/04/2012
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Reduction: A warning has been issued after a study finds that New Zealand has the saltiest burgers.

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You might want to reconsider that next hamburger - New Zealand has saltier burgers than the United States, Canada and Britain, researchers say.

The Canadian Medical Association analysed the salt levels in common fast foods in six countries, and found that, while New Zealand was not the worst offender, Kiwis were still chowing down on a lot of salt.

Menu items from Burger King, Domino's Pizza, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Subway were all analysed for the salt levels found in their public nutritional information.

New Zealand had the saltiest burgers, with an average of 1.4g of salt per 100g, compared with 1.1g in Britain and 1.2g in France.

But New Zealand also had the least salty breakfast items and salads, sitting Kiwis in the middle of the range for total fast food salt intake.

However, that still left some way to go to address healthy eating, said Dr Cliona Ni Mhurchu from Auckland University, who conducted the New Zealand research for the study.

''If you think about the idea that the amount of salt we are meant to have in one day is between five to six grams, it suggests that we could be consuming a huge amount of our daily salt intake from just one item of fast food.

''It is quite possible to reduce the salt content in these foods. There are no technical reasons why it can't be done, and it has been done successfully overseas. Obviously consumers find it perfectly acceptable to do so.''

Britain and France, which performed better than New Zealand in the study, had government-led initiatives to reduce salt levels in food, and the same approach could be encouraged here, Ni Mhurchu said.

The Heart Foundation was working to get initiatives in place with food producers, but the work was yet to begin in New Zealand's fast food industry.

''Where we could be doing better is in getting the food industry as a whole on board with reducing salt intake, so there can be a real meaningful effect on the amount of salt Kiwis are consuming.''

HOW MUCH SALT?

BURGER KING DOUBLE
* Whopper: 2.7g per 367g serving

MCDONALD'S
* Big Mac: 2.7g per 202g serving

SUBWAY
* Club sandwich: 2.7g per 220g serving

KFC
* Zinger Burger: 3.1g per 186g serving

PIZZA HUT
* Hawaiian pizza: 1.1g per 82g serving

DOMINO'S
* Hawaiian pizza: 1g per 67g serving

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- The Press

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