Hongkongers are consuming too much salt, especially when they choose meal-on-one-plate dishes, a recent study showed.
The Consumer Council and the Center for Food Safety conducted the study on 10 popular, if affordable, meal-on-one-plate dishes offered in 10 restaurants.
The study showed that the sodium content per serving of 45 of the 100 samples were found to reach or exceed the upper limit of daily intake (2,000 milligrams) recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
One popular dish, fried noodles with spare ribs and preserved vegetables, exceeded the WHO’s recommended daily upper limit by 1.5 times.
Braised E-Fu noodles ranked the second highest in sodium content with 410mg per 100 grams.
Spaghetti Bolognese was also high in sodium content, followed by fried rice noodles with sliced beef, baked pork chop with rice, and fried rice in Fujian style, with average sodium content of 350mg to 310mg per 100g.
Meanwhile, steamed rice with bean curd sheets and roasted pork was found to be the lowest among the 10 meal-on-one-plate dishes, with an average of 230mg per 100g.
Too much sodium in the body is a major cause of high blood pressure, which can lead to serious conditions, including diabetes and heart attack.
According to the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations, food samples with sodium content not exceeding 120mg/100g fall under the “low sodium” category.
Sauces also play a big role in determining the sodium content of food, the Consumer Council said in a statement.
For example, taking away the sauce in steamed rice with barbecued pork would reduce its sodium content by 26 to 56 percent per serving.
If consumers will just cut down on sauces or avoid them, their sodium intake can be reduced effectively, the statement said.
Terry Ting Ho-yan, a member of the Committee on the Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food, said the government should launch more educational campaigns to promote low sodium intake, noting that about 20 percent of Hong Kong people have high blood pressure.
Ting urged the government to make it mandatory for restaurants to put warning labels on their menus for dishes with high sodium content.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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