Hyderabad: Several varieties of packaged foods have more than five grams of salt, according to recent research by George Institute of Health and Public Health Foundation of India. This poses a serious risk to the health of people, the researchers claim. Foods like papads, meal-based sauces, Asian sauces, pickles, bread and bakery products were found to have high levels of salt.
The researchers divided 6,000 packaged foods into nine categories for the study. Salt which is labeled as sodium was found to be in the range of 179 to 2,000 mg per 100 gram in meal-based sauces, 1,600 to 5,433 mg in pickles and 270 to 8,400 mg per 100 gram in Asian sauces.
Of these products, 24 per cent didn’t have any nutrition information and did not meet the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s national nutrition guidelines for labelling.
Nutritionist Madhu Shah said, “Papads are the most common meal accompaniment in India and the mean sodium in this product was found to be in the range of 2 to 4,000 mg per 100 gram. Papad with 2 mg of sodium is within limits; more than 5 mg per 100 gram is adequate. But 4,000 mg is very high and dangerous for the health of the individual.”
The World Health Organisation has recommended intake of about 5 gram of salt per day but it has been found that Indians consume 9.3 grams. Dr Vivekanad Jha, executive director of the institute, said, “High level of salt in processed foods is a concern for public health as there has been major dietary shift to convenience foods. The main problem caused by high levels of salt is high blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney diseases.”