Some takeaway pizzas are saltier than the Atlantic Ocean, say health campaigners concerned about the amount of salt we eat. Several newspapers have reported on the high levels of salt in pizzas from both takeaway outlets and supermarkets. Some of the pizzas contained more than 10g of salt, which is more than an entire day’s salt allowance.
An analysis of 199 pizzas by the Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) group found no low-salt options, with over half the takeaway pizzas containing more than 6g of salt – the recommended daily maximum for healthy adults. Shop-bought pizzas generally fared better, but many still contained more than 5g of salt – close to the daily maximum allowance.
Keeping track of how much salt we eat is important as salt can raise blood pressure, in turn raising the risk of problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Many pizzas were also found to be high in fat and saturated fat, again marking them out as an unhealthy option.
How much salt should I eat?
CASH and NHS Choices recommend that adults consume a maximum of 6g of salt a day (approximately one full teaspoon). However, UK adults currently consume an average of 8.6g a day. The recommended maximum daily levels of salt for children are:
- under 1 year old – less than 1g
- 1 to 3 years old – 2g
- 4 to 6 years old – 3g
- 5 to 10 years old – 5g
- 11 years and older – 6g
It is important to limit salt intake as it affects blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of serious health problems such as strokes and heart attacks. CASH estimates that if the nation reduced its intake to recommended levels, it could reduce the number of strokes by 22% and heart attacks by 16%.
CASH says that one way to reduce your daily salt intake and avoid the hidden salt found in many ready-made foods is to make your own pizza. CASH provides a low-salt, low-fat recipe.