Ever made a delicious, healthy and beautifully presented meal for friends and one of them adds salt before even tasting? Frustrating!? Yes, because they clearly don’t understand the hidden salt that is already in the dish. Natural hidden salt, not added. A lot of food you will eat contains salt already so how do you avoid hidden salt? ItsTimeToBurn are here to explain.
What do you mean, hidden salt?
Hidden salt can mean the salt that naturally is part of our food, our life, from our surroundings. Salt is commonly used to preserve food in many cultures so will be apart of that food when you eat it. Hidden salt can also mean salt that is added to give something more of a “taste”. Substituting salt to create a low fat version of common meals is an easy and cheap way for food manufactures to offer “low fat” versions of common meals, snack etc. They take out fat which gives food flavour and replace with hidden salt to make the consumer “taste” the food as if it were “full fat”.
Why should you be aware of hidden salt?
Hidden salt is the salt that is added to food without you knowing it was either added, or there in the first place. Hidden salt not only counts as extra calories but can have a serious effect on your body.
How can you avoid extra hidden salt?
There are several ways to avoid hidden salt, here are some top tips:
- Read the labels on the foods you are going to eat, it’s is a legal requirement in most regions of the world to correct identify how much salt is in the container/packet etc.
- Avoid processed food – here is where you will see a huge spike in the amount of hidden salt!
- Eat organically – prioritise what you can buy organically. Organic foods don’t have hidden salt added, just natural salt.
- Don’t add salt to your meal after it’s cooked – Especially poignant if you are eating in a restaurant.
- Look for low salt options. Hidden salt can be avoided if you buy Low salt version of things like, Soya Sauce, Meat/Vegetable Stocks etc.
- Don’t think the most obvious is always the food with the most hidden salt in. Surveys find that the public often think a packet of salted snacks contain the most salt. When it’s more likely a packaged sandwich that would have a higher amount of salt – it’s been given flavour with hidden salt, it’s going to be sat on a shelf somewhere after being shipped across the country therefore it has hidden salt for preservation.
- COOK YOUR OWN MEALS – try as hard as you can to avoid hidden salt by controlling what you eat and therefore how much salt goes into a dish.
How much salt should I have on a daily basis?
Generally you should be aiming for around 6g of Salt per day, different regions of the world have different salt recommendations. Best to check with your local health service, or stats about Hidden Salt.
Do’s and Don’ts for controlling salt intake?
- Do: Be aware of what you are eating
- Don’t: Add extra salt to your meal
- Do: Read the labels on process foods for hidden salt – if you’re going to eat it at least read the label.
- Don’t: Cut out salt all together, the body need some salt, even if it’s naturally hidden salt.
- Do: Replace salt after exercise
- Don’t: Drink high sodium drinks – unless you are looking to replace lost salt, BUT this should be done in moderation.
Here’s a great video on how to reduce your hidden salt intake: