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Fast food 'salt lottery' revealed

24 August 2015 09:18

Fast food can be a convenient option for families when travelling

Fast food can be a convenient option for families when travelling

When you are on holiday abroad with the family, it can be even more tempting than usual to stop off at a fast food outlet.

But new research reveals massive variations in the amount of salt contained in fast food chains' children's meals, depending on which country they are bought in.

A children's meal at a KFC in Costa Rica, for example, contains far more salt than the same one would in Britain, World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) says.

It says the research shows that fast food chains could cut salt levels in their food if they wanted to.

The findings suggest that Britons holidaying abroad with a family travel insurance policy may be buying their children meals containing far more salt than those they are used to eating at home.

WASH analysed children's food at restaurants in 37 countries, finding that 80% of the meals contain over 1g of salt.

The study found a Burger King children's burger and fries meal in the UK contains 1.06g of salt compared to 2.54g in Finland.

And while a British Subway Kids Pak turkey slab comes with 1g of salt the same meal in Germany will contain 1.5g.

A KFC popcorn nuggets and fries meal served in the UK contains 0.9g of salt compared to 5.34g in Costa Rica.

It is recommended that children aged between four and six eat no more than 3g of salt a day.

The maximum advised intake for those aged seven to 10 is 5g, while 6g is the recommended limit for anyone older.

Too much salt can raise the blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

WASH's international programme lead, nutritionist Clare Farrand, says the fact that chains can produce less salty children's meals in some countries means they can and should do so everywhere.