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Trying to reduce your salt intake? Think about cheese PDF Print Email

A recent research paper was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which was put together by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) and the amount of salt contained in some cheese may surprise you.  There are some very high levels of salt in cheese and a big difference between different types of cheese.

 

Reducing salt intake is generally very important and there is often more than we need hidden in many foods, even if you think you have a reasonable diet already but it is particularly important for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure or is at risk of a stroke or heart attack.  Too much salt is known to raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

The research revealed that some cheese brands aren’t going far enough to reduce salt content putting consumers health at risk.

Supermarkets own brand was in fact usually lower than branded cheddar and cheddar-style cheese.

 

Although many cheeses were within the recommended Department of Health guidelines amazingly some cheeses contained more salt than seawater!

Particularly salty were blue cheese Roquefort, feta and halloumi.  The cheeses with the lowest salt content were emmental, Wensleydale and mozzarella.  Within the different varieties there was also a large variation in salt content between brands / products.  The survey found one variety of gorgonzola was nearly six times saltier than the least salty, and large differences were also seen in Wensleydale and cheddar.


Cash said salt intake should be less than 6g a day - about a teaspoon - and urged consumers to choose either a lower salt version or eat less cheese.

The chairman of Cash, Prof Graham MacGregor said: "Even small reductions will have large health benefits. For every one gram reduction in population salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, stroke and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal.

 

"The Department of Health must now stop its delaying tactics and set new much lower targets for cheese manufacturers, and make sure they achieve them. The cheese industry must comply if we are to save the maximum number of lives"

 

Cash said that you should have less than 6g of salt a day - about a teaspoon.  With the recommended daily maximum intake of salt for an adult is 6g the list below shows the salt content of a 30g portion

 

  • Roquefort: 1.06g salt
  • Bacon rasher: 0.9g
  • Halloumi : 0.81g
  • Seawater: 0.75g
  • Cheddar: 0.52g
  • Packet of crisps: 0.5g
  • Mozzarella: 0.30g

It is worth remembering cheese can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet and like anything a little of what you like will do you no harm but it is worth being mindful of th salt content of some varieties and brands  The  most important thing is to watch your overall salt intake.

 

If you don’t know your blood pressure, are concerned about it or want to monitor it pop into your local pharmacy where they will be happy to give you free advice and measure your blood pressure.