Five olives are a third of your daily recommended salt allowance, research reveals

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
New research has revealed that just five olives can contain a third of an adult’s daily salt allowance [Photo: Getty]

In news that is sure to threaten your weekend picnic plans, a study has found that just five olives a day make up a third of your daily salt allowance.

According to new research conducted by Action on Salt, people are unaware that the popular summer snack can contain double the salt concentration of seawater.

As part of the study, the organisation analysed 555 savoury finger foods available from UK supermarkets.

Aldi’s Specially Selected Hand Stuffed Halkidiki Olives for instance boast 5g of salt per 150g. To put that into perspective, the recommended daily limit for an adult is 6g.

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But it’s not just olives that shoppers need to be weary of adding to their basket, as one in four savoury snacks were found to be “dangerously high” in salt.

A Ginsters Cornish Pasty (272g) contains 2.99g of salt per portion which is equivalent to seven handfuls of salted peanuts.

While Aldi’s Eat and Go Sausages and Ketchup (2.2g per portion) contain as much salt as 4.5 bags worth of ready salted crisps.

A Fry's Spicy Three Bean Pasty? We’re talking as much salt as a McDonald's hamburger and fries.

A number of picnic goers don't realise how much salt our go-to food items contain [Photo: Getty]

If that’s not enough to worry about, almost half of the products surveyed were also found to be “worryingly high” in saturated fat.

Cheese and Onion Slices (330g) from Morrisons for example, boast 17.7g of saturated fat per portion - almost a woman's recommended daily limit.

But it’s tricky for picnic goers to know just how unhealthy the food items are as one in three don’t have any colour-coded labelling.

Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary and Chair of Action on Salt, said: “Due to inaction by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England in enforcing the 2017 salt reduction targets, the public are still eating more salt than recommended. This is leading to thousands dying or suffering from entirely unnecessary strokes and heart disease.

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“Reducing salt is one of the most cost-effective measures to protect health. The time has come for the Secretary of State for Health to resuscitate the UK’s salt reduction programme, helping us to, once again, be world leading rather than trailing behind the rest of the world. The public’s health has suffered long enough.”

Top tips for a healthier picnic basket

According to Action on Salt, there are a number of ways to reduce salt intake this summer from preparing homemade treats to double checking portion sizes in advance.

  • Check the label to see how much salt and saturated fat levels are in your favourite products and use the FoodSwitch app to find healthier options.

  • Try to avoid products with salty ingredients such as olives, chorizo, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and feta.

  • Add some colour to your picnic by buying seasonal fruits or making fruit skewers.

  • Make your own. Fresh salads, sandwiches with wholemeal bread, vegetable crudités with houmous, boiled egg, grilled chicken or seafood will add fibre, protein and essential vitamins to your family’s picnic.

  • Choose one protein centre e.g. a sausage roll and then fill the rest of your plate with fresh salad or vegetables.

  • Check the portion size. Read the label to find out the recommended portion size and measure out a portion onto a plate to help ensure you don’t eat more salt, calories and saturated fat than intended.

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