Fast Food Is Saltier in U.S. Than Overseas04/16/12
MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Large differences exist in
the levels of salt in foods sold at major fast-food restaurants in
the United States and other developed countries, a new study
Researchers examined the salt content of more than 2,100 food
items in seven product categories sold by Burger King, Domino's
Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Subway in
the United States, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and the
The food-product categories included savory breakfast items,
burgers, chicken products, pizza, salads, sandwiches and french
The study found that sodium levels in similar foods varied
widely among the countries, and that fast food in the United States
and Canada contained much higher levels of sodium than in the
United Kingdom and France.
For example, McDonald's Chicken McNuggets in Canada contained
2.5 times more sodium than those in the United Kingdom. There were
600 milligrams of sodium (1.5 grams of salt) in a 3.5-ounce serving
in Canada, but the same serving size in the United Kingdom
contained 240 milligrams of sodium (0.6 grams of salt).
The study appears April 16 in the Canadian Medical Association's
"Canadian companies indicate they have been working to reduce sodium but the high sodium in these foods indicates voluntary efforts aren't working," Norman Campbell, of the University of Calgary, and colleagues, said in a journal news release.
"These high levels indicate failure of the current government approach that leaves salt reduction solely in the hands of industry," the researchers said. "Salt-reduction programs need to guide industry and oversee it with targets and timelines for foods, monitoring and evaluation, and stronger regulatory measures if the structured voluntary efforts are not effective."
High levels of dietary salt have been linked to high blood
pressure and other harmful health effects.
"Decreasing salt in fast foods would appear to be technically feasible, and is likely to produce important gains in population health -- the [average] salt levels of fast foods are high, and these foods are eaten often," the researchers concluded.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute outlines how
reduce sodium in your diet.
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