One Serving of This Common Food Has More Salt Than a McDonald’s Burger

New research might have you rethinking your entire diet.

burgerStella Photography/ShutterstockYou already know to steer clear of deli meats and soy sauce. You’ve even swapped canned veggies for fresh ones. But one sneaky kitchen favorite is hijacking your daily salt intake—and odds are, you had absolutely no clue.

Research by the UK organization Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has revealed that the average serving of pesto pasta contains 1.5 grams of salt. A McDonald’s hamburger has 1.2 grams, by comparison.

Say it ain’t so! Sadly, the numbers don’t lie. Researchers at CASH examined the salt content of 75 pesto sauces sold at UK supermarkets this year. Turns out, the worst culprits were two products by Sacla, one of the bestselling brands in the UK. Sacla’s No. 1 Classic Basil Pesto and No. 5 Organic Basil Pesto have 2.5 times as much salt per 100g as peanuts and 30 percent more than seawater, according to the report. These foods have way more salt than you realized, too.

But Sacla isn’t alone; in fact, nearly 40 percent of the products included in the study contain too much sodium. That includes brands such as Napolina Green Pesto with Basil, Gino D’Acampo Pesto alla Genovese Basil Pesto, and Truly Italian Genovese Basil Pesto, all of which contain between 2g and 2.5g of salt per 100g. (Here are the signs you’re eating too much salt.)

Thankfully, there are some pesto products you can eat with a little less guilt. Some of the lower sodium brands included Tesco Reduced Fat Red Pesto, Aldi’s Specially Selected Italian Pesto Genovese and Specially Selected Pesto Rosso, Jamie Oliver Green Pesto, and Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Pesto Alla Genovese. All of these sauces contain less than 1g of salt per 100g.

No word yet on the sodium in U.S. pesto sauces, but we bet the numbers look pretty similar.

The AHA recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. But ideally, adults limit their intake just 1,500 milligrams per day. So you might want to lay off the pesto—or at least check the label before digging in. Another alternative: swap the spread for one of these low-salt snacks, instead.

[Source: Daily Star]

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