Many condiments and sauces sold in Hong Kong are overly rich in sodium, with some also containing high levels of sugar, the Consumer Council has warned.
The consumer watchdog said it tested 65 samples of commonly used seasonings such as chicken powder, chicken stock, fish powder, fish sauce and soy sauce. The levels of sodium and sugars were measured in each sample and compared to the information provided in the nutrition labels.
Chicken powder samples were found to contain the most sodium, a mineral usually taken in by humans in the form of sodium chloride, better known as common salt.
For healthy adults, recommended intake of the sodium is no more than 2,000 milligrams or an equivalent of one level teaspoon (5 grams) of salt, according to the World Health Organization.
Eight samples of chicken powder came with 16,980 milligrams of sodium on average per 100 grams or milliliters, which is around eight times more than the daily intake of sodium suggested, RTHK reported.
In the most extreme case, Sau Tao abalone seafood powder contained as much as 21,600 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams.
According to dietitians, excessive intake of sodium will increase blood pressure and the risk of coronary artery diseases in the long run.
Meanwhile, the myth that dark soy sauce is less salty than light soy sauce was busted in the tests. It was found that the dark soy sauce samples contain 15 grams of sugars on average per 100 milliliters, twice as much as that of light soy sauce.
The Consumer Council advised citizens to reduce the use of seasonings gradually, or to replace seasonings with natural ingredients or herbs.
Ginger, green onion, black pepper, thyme, and even sesame oil, vinegar and wine are all good choices with low-content of sodium.
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