Three quarters of bought salads contain more salt than a packet of crisps. This was one of the findings of a survey conducted by Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) on 650 ready-to-eat salads from restaurants, cafes and supermarkets.
A McDonald's 'Crispy Chicken and Bacon Salad', for example, was found to contain more salt than one of the chain's hamburgers, a Caesar salad from Pizza Express had enough for an adult for an entire day and a serving of Morrisons' 'Chicken & Bacon Pasta Salad' weighed in at 2.8g per every 290g.
Fifteen per cent of the salads surveyed scored a red (high) rating for salt, with over two thirds (69%) rating amber (medium).
CASH nutritionist Sonia Pombo thinks customers often mistakenly choose green meals for perceived health benefits. "Say the word 'salad' and you tend to imagine a bowl of healthy stuff nestled among some leaves, but that's not accurate, she says. "Food manufacturers and restaurants continue to add unnecessary salt, which not only alters the taste and makes you feel bloated, but more seriously, can lead to high blood pressure - the main cause of strokes and heart attacks."
Graham MacGregor, CASH chairman and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary University of London, meanwhile, said it was "nonsensical" that salads should contain ingredients that were proven to be harmful to wellbeing. "The food industry needs to show much greater responsibility for its customers' health," he said.