How turkey and the trimmings can contain more than twice the recommended daily salt intake
Tucking in to turkey and all the trimmings can involve consuming more than double the daily recommended salt intake in a single meal.
A turkey dinner, plus a starter, pudding and a few nibbles could add up to 15.7g of salt, which compares to the maximum for an adult of 6g for a day.
The information comes from health campaigners, CASH – Consensus Action of Salt and Health – who warn the nation is routinely overdosing on salt every day.
Festive downer: A turkey dinner, plus a starter and pudding could measure more than double the recommended salt intake for an adult
Eating too much salt is linked to raised blood pressure, together with the risk of strokes, heart attacks and a premature death.
The major concern comes from processed and pre-prepared foods, designed to improve convenience.
However, CASH said it is possible, through home cooking, to drastically cut salt levels, delivering the entire meal for a much lower 5.7g.
Under one meal plan investigated by its experts, a main meal came it at 8.87g of salt. This included 0.79g from slices of a prepared and basted turkey breast joint, 1.38g from sausage stuffing and 1.1g from Tesco Poultry Gravy.
Even ready- prepared vegetables are laced with salt. The figure is 1.03 from a serving of Essential Waitrose Roast Potatoes, 0.8g from Brussel sprouts, 0.8g from frozen mashed carrot and swede, and 0.43g from parsnips.
CASH said it was possible to come up with a home cooked version of the main meal with just 2.24g of salt – around a quarter of the convenience feast.
Time for action: Andrew Lansley has asked food giants to do more when it comes to too much salt in pre-prepared foods
A smoked salmon starter with various accompaniments comes in at 3.38g of salt, however CASH said it was possible to serve a tasty smoked salmon alternative at 2.12g
A dessert of Christmas pudding and custard followed by creamy blue Stilton and crackers comes in at 1.62g on the high salt menu. However, CASH said a similar choice is possible with just 0.88g.
CASH nutritionist, Kay Dilley, said: ‘Everyone likes to be indulgent at Christmas time, and it’s not just on the day but for the whole of the festive season that we might be treating ourselves to salty food, so our salt intake can really add up.
‘But by cooking at home from scratch, your Christmas food will be even more delicious as well as lower in salt.’
Professor Graham MacGregor, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said: ‘A third of adults in Britain have raised blood pressure, which leads to heart disease and stroke ,but as half of those who have it are unaware, it is known as the ‘silent killer’.
‘The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure at any age.
‘It is the very high levels of salt that are hidden in our food that puts up both adults’ and children’s blood pressure.’
Supermarkets and manufacturers insist they have changed menus and improved recipes to take tonnes of salt off the nation’s dinner tables.
The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has set up a voluntary regime asking food giants to do more, however he has had a lukewarm response from many.