Sandwich and soup could contain entire daily salt allowance
A bowl of soup or a sandwich for lunch could deliver over half an adult's daily allowance of salt.
While soup is often seen as a healthy lunchtime option, some brands contain up to 60pc of the maximum daily salt intake of 6g recommended by health authorities, a survey by the Irish Independent has found.
Cully & Sully's Chicken & Vegetable soup had the highest salt content we found with 3.6g in a 400g tub – well over half the 6g daily allowance for adults.
Its Lentil & Smoked Bacon Soup had 2.8g salt per tub, some 47pc of the recommended maximum.
Erin Soupfulls Tomato & Basil contained 3g, or half your daily salt limit, and Heinz Cream of Mushroom soup contained 2.6g.
And even if you make your own soup, the level of salt in processed stock is also high, with a Knorr chicken stock pot delivering 0.83g per 100ml of stock.
Dietitian Orla Walsh of Dublin Nutrition Centre said Irish people eat far too much salt despite its associated risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, stomach cancer, and dehydration-related mental problems.
Irish men eat over 11g a day of salt and women eat over 8g, which is far higher than the official target of 6g, and up to three times higher than the optimal health level of just 4g a day of salt, she said.
"People think that because they don't add salt to their food, they're not eating much, but in fact 65pc to 70pc of salt comes from processed food.
"To cut down you have to actively choose foods that are low in salt and that mainly means not eating from packets and choosing wholegrains and wholefoods," she said.
Cully & Sully spokesman Cullen Allen said that their philosophy was to make products that tasted like what you'd make at home, which meant some were higher in salt than others.
People could eat a smaller portion to limit salt intake, but experiments with designing low-salt soups hadn't been a hit so far with consumers.
"We brought out a Mediterranean vegetable soup which was low-fat and low-salt and low-everything, but it didn't sell," said Mr Allen.
Our survey also found that some supermarket sandwiches are also very high in salt.
A Tesco Chicken Triple sandwiches contains 3.3g of salt while SuperValu's Southern Fried Chicken sandwich contains 2.7g.