Surprising Ways to Cut Salt

No one needs to tell you that reduced salt baked beans are less salty than the standard version. You can take this as read. Opting for the former means that in half a large 415g can you get 1.1g of salt compared to 1.5g in an original-style baked bean recipe.

There are however some less obvious ways of going about getting salt down in your day-to-day diet. As I was researching some of the five more surprising ones, which are listed below, it got me thinking.

As well as becoming less frisky with the salt in our own home cooking and avoiding adding extra at the table, when it comes to increasing our awareness of salt in foods and finding ways to therefore lower it, there are some golden rules.

First and foremost, be aware that 75 per cent of our daily salt intakes come from processed foods. By cutting these back wherever possible, the chances are, you will almost automatically lower your salt load.

Secondly, get used to checking the amount of salt in foods that have labels and try to see how much you are getting per serving, rather than per 100g, remembering that the maximum you are going for a day as an adult is 6g.

Thirdly, be wary of foods that are not labelled. Some of the saltiest offerings out there are slipping into our shopping baskets and tummies because we simply don’t know how much they contain.

If buying a property is all about location, location, location, cutting salt is all about checking labels, being aware and looking out for high salt foods that sneak in under the radar.

Five Surprising Ways to Cut Salt

  1. When buying food in coffee shops, avoid muffins, scones, pastries and cakes. Instead, opt for a fruit salad or a piece of fruit or some plain nuts, both of which are available in most coffee shops these days and will cut the salt-in-your-snack to virtually zero.
  2. While freshly baked bread looks and smells delicious, it is worth knowing that the former tend to have higher levels of salt than pre-packed bread, and there is no way of you as a customer knowing, because the fresh loaves have no nutritional labelling. A fresh wholemeal loaf in one major supermarket was recently found for example to have 1.3g of salt per two 50g slices, while the same amount of their wholemeal sliced bread had just 0.7g.

    Opting for the sliced version is pretty close to halving salt in one go.

  3. Swap smoked fish for fresh. We can all taste that smoked salmon is salty, but did you know that while a 100g portion of smoked salmon has almost 4g of salt, a 100g fresh salmon fillet has just 0.2g?

    Equally, while kippers (smoked herrings), have 3.3g of salt per 100g serving, fresh herrings again have more like 0.2g.

    These are huge differences. Nobody is saying never have smoked fish again, but if you do, try to cut right back on salt from other foods over the rest of the day.

  4. Be a cereal-sleuth. When it comes to breakfast cereals, again, it really pays to read the labels because not all brands are as healthy as they sound.

    Bran Flakes may be bursting with fibre, but actually have half a gram of salt per 50g serving. Porridge oats on the other hand have only a trace of salt in the same size serving.

    Oatibix have 0.1g of salt per two biscuits while a 50g bowl of All Bran has 0.6g of salt.

    Mug up on salt levels of cereals and you can help to cut salt while still getting wholegrain goodness at breakfast.

  5. Don’t be fooled by ‘posh’ salt. Sodium chloride makes up almost 100 per cent of all rock and sea salts recently surveyed even though almost over 30 per cent of ‘Which?’ members who were questioned believed them to be a healthier option than table salt. The other problem with these salts is that you often use more of them because of their large granule size.

    They are fine to have in your kitchen cupboard, just go steady and do not imagine they are better for you than bog-standard, less expensive fine grain versions.

And finally, a pleasant salty surprise…

Cut salt and lose weight! The average daily salt intake in the UK today is around 9g per adult. The aim is to reduce this down to a 6g maximum. Going one step further and halving this again to just 3g can have a surprisingly welcome effect on your weight, seeing the scales drop by 2 – 3lb within about five days, as your body releases up to 1.5 litres of excess water that has been stored in your body to dilute high salt intakes. As well as losing weight on the scales, you can often see swollen ankles and wrists de-bloat as retained fluid is gradually lost from your body!