Jamie Oliver’s Salty Truth
The recent headlines covered news on our very own celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who is known for tackling bad British diets in schools. However, it came as no surprise to many nutritionists and dietitians that due to commercial aspects led to the production of one of the potentially saltiest pasta sauces in Great Britain.
The spokes person for Jamie Oliver claimed that although the team was working hard to create a recipe with lower salt levels it seemed difficult to find a tasty but less salty different hence the businessman Jamie Oliver has agreed to stick to the production of the salty version for the time being to avoid income losses. It’s a pity that already someone like Jamie Oliver puts his brand onto sauces which have such high levels of salt that already eating 10 packets of Walkers crisps does not total up to the same amount of salt. A particular kind of the pasta sauces branded Jamie Oliver sold at Sainsbury’s contains as much as 5.3g salt per jar.
The current recommendation by the Food Standards Agency is 6g salt per day for adults. The recommended portion on the label (of 175g of olive and garlic sauce) would contain 5.3g salt and would contribute nearly to an adult’s daily salt intake, without already adding pasta which surely contains some more salt. Although a new recipe for Jamie’s sauces is about to get into Sainsbury’s stores by December or January the high salt content was pointed out to the producers already about a year ago. Despite knowing, the product will nevertheless go on sale which could be very bad for people with high blood pressure and this act can only be understood as a commercial decision.
The Food Standards Agency estimates that about 75% of our daily salt intake comes from processed food such as bread, cereals, sauces, pickles, sausages and meat, snack foods such as nuts, crisps and crackers and foods eaten out. consequently checking and comparing the label can truly make a difference to a person’s salt intake.
The very high salt content in Jamie’s sauces are especially appalling to everyone who knows that high salt diets are associated with high blood pressure and can rule to heart disease and stroke. The Food Standards Agency estimated lowering average salt intake from 10g per day (in 2006) to 6g per day could save around 17, 500 lives in the UK yearly.
After years of campaigning by the Foods Standards Agency the average salt intake in the UK has already dropped to 8.3g per day, this is mainly due to large extent reformulation of processed foods such as cereals, breads, sauces etc. but potentially also to awareness campaigns, reducing the amount of salt additional into cooking at home and on the table. However there is nevertheless a long way to go and many people are nevertheless consuming large amounts of salt.
5 tips – how to prevent high salt intakes?
* Check the labels of bread, cereals, sauces (e.g. soy sauce, pesto), pickles, tinned vegetables such as baked beans that contain less salt than others, and try to choose the low salt option.
* Swap salty snacks like crisps, popcorn, crackers to healthier versions such as vegetable sticks, ryvita or oat crackers, rice cakes etc.
* Aim not to eat smoked foods such as smoked bacon, ham and cheese too often as they contain high amounts of salt.
* Avoid adding salt on foods on the table and while cooking try to use fresh or dried herbs and other seasoning such as garlic, ginger, lime juice and chilli as many of these elements be make up of consistently health promoting effects and add flavour to most dishes.
* When eating out choose tomato based sauce above creamy sauces which are often high in salt. Avoid soy based dishes and stir fried rice as they are commonly higher in salt. If possible ask for olive oil or salt free butter with your bread.