Sparkling mineral water may contain higher salt levels than tap water

Many carbonated mineral waters may contain high levels of salt



And drinking large amounts daily can contribute to unhealthy salt levels and make you more thirsty. Tap water contains only 0.45g of salt per litre compared to luxury mineral brands, some of which are the worst offenders:

  • French Badoit contains 8 per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of salt for adults, with 0.45g per litre.  It’s 11 times saltier than tap water.
  • Italian brand San Pellegrino has double the amount of salt found in tap water, with  0.08g per litre
  • Buxton sparkling water contains 0.06g per litre – one and a half times the salt in tap water.
  • Spa Barisart and Highland Spring are two of the least salty on the market, with just 0.01g of salt per litre, a quarter of the amount found in tap water.

Consuming too much salt can cause a number of health problems including raising blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, and kidney problems.

In the UK the recommended maximum daily consumption of salt is 6g.  But consumers can be confused by the different names given to salt such as sodium or the chemical name Na.

Although the British Soft Drinks Federation says new guidelines will ensure that salt is called salt in drinks from December.


Fuss about food – Salt

Bowl of saltSalt plays a vital role in our lives, regulating fluid movement in our bodies and maintaining nerve signals. When we begin to suffer from salt deficiency, we experience muscular weakness, exhaustion and dehydration.

Salt is essential but extremely overused.

Are you one of the 26 million people in the UK who eat too much of it? We are a nation of crisp lovers – a double whammy of fat and salt makes them one of the unhealthiest snacks available.

Overuse of salt also leads to serious health problems: we are sure you know the warnings about its effect on heart health and blood pressure. It is also linked to higher risk of stroke.

Even if you are one of the saintly ones who do not put any salt on their food at the dinner table you are probably still eating too much – 75% of the salt we eat is already added to our food.

Look at the ingredients labels next time you go to the supermarket – how many labels tell you there is salt added? This is the case even with sweet products. It is added for flavour purposes, as perhaps a cheaper alternative to other spices; Salt is a cheap ingredient, like sugar, and also like sugar, is not needed in such high amounts.

Some experts think the only way to really reduce our intake is to impose a mandatory curb on dietary salt.

In fact, imposing statutory limits on the salt content of processed foods could be 20 times more effective than voluntary curbs by industry, finds research published online in the journal Heart.

The Australian researchers, from the University of Queensland, assessed the public health benefits and cost effectiveness of different strategies for reducing dietary salt content. They looked at the current Australian ‘Tick’ programme which enables food manufacturers to buy an endorsed logo for use on product packaging to achieve higher sales in return for voluntarily reducing the salt content of these products.

They also looked at the impact of mandatory reductions in salt content; and professional advice to cut dietary salt for those at increased and high risk of cardiovascular disease.

They then evaluated the different strategies in terms of their impact on years of good health over a lifetime, and the associated savings in long term healthcare spend.

The researchers took into consideration the salt content of bread, margarine, and cereals; the tonnage of product sold; average consumption per head of these products; the costs of drafting and enforcing legislation; and systematic reviews of the evidence for the impact of dietary advice from healthcare professionals.

Their calculations showed that 610,000 years of healthy life could be gained if everyone reduced their salt intake to recommended limits (maximum of 6 g a day).

It was found that providing dietary advice to reduce salt intake was not cost effective even when targeting those with heart disease.

A voluntary reduction of salt by industry amounted to a reduction of 1% in the population.

But the health benefits across the population could be 20 times greater if the government imposed mandatory limits, the figures showed, amounting to a reduction of 18% in ill health from cardiovascular disease.

The authors conclude that food manufacturers have a responsibility to make money for their shareholders, but they also have a responsibility to society. If corporate responsibility fails, maybe there is an ethical justification for government to step in and legislate.

If you want to read about research similar to this, the link to the Heart Journal is below…

Is salt fuelling child obesity?


London: Salt-rich diets could be the reason why many children are getting fatter, University of London researchers say.

In a study of data on 1,600 children, they found that children eating a salty diet tended to drink more, including more fattening, sugary soft drinks.

They reported in journal Hypertension that halving the average daily salt intake of six grams a day could cut 250 calories a week from a child’s diet. They said the the food industry should reduce salt content in products.

One in five children in the UK is overweight and there are fears that this will contribute to a rising trend in adult obesity, heart disease and stroke in years to come.

Eating products high in salt tends to make people thirsty and it is known that in adults, a salt-laden diet tends to increase the amount of sugary soft drinks consumed.

This is the first study to see if the same effect was found in children.

The team from St George’s, University of London, looked at data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, conducted in 1997.

They used a sample of 1,600 four to 18-year-olds who had all had their salt and fluid intake measured precisely.

They found that children eating a lower-salt diet drank less fluid and estimated that one gram of salt cut from a daily diet would reduce fluid intake by 100 grams per day.

Approximately a quarter of those 100 grams would be sugary soft drinks, they predicted.

The researchers estimated that if children cut their salt intake by half – an average reduction of three grams a day – there would be a decrease of approximately two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week per child.

That, in turn, would decrease each child’s calorie intake by almost 250 calories per week.

They urged parents to check the salt content of their children’s meals and manufacturers to find ways to reduce this content.

They said reductions in the salt content of 10% or 20% cannot be detected by human salt taste receptors and do not cause any “technological or safety problems”.

Professor Graham McGregor, one of the paper’s authors and the chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said that while some manufacturers had acted to reduce salt levels in bread and cereals – the main sources of salt for children – there was still plenty left for the industry to do.

“Unfortunately some food specifically targeted at children has to be laced with salt otherwise it would be inedible, because it is made from mechanically-recovered meat,” he said.

“The salt levels in some of these products have been brought virtually up to the level of sea water.

“This is evidence of another, hidden way in which eating too much salt may harm the health of children and the industry needs to do a lot more.”

Dr Myron Weinberger, from the Indiana University Medical Center, wrote that reductions in salt and soft drink consumption in children, coupled with an increase in physical activity, could help reduce the “scourge of cardiovascular disease” in western society.

A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation said that better food labelling would help parents to choose healthier foods for their families.

“When children regularly swill down salty foods with sugary, calorie-laden soft drinks, it can mean double trouble for their future heart health.

“This report is yet more proof that children must be supported to make healthier food choices to avoid becoming obese or increasing their blood pressure.”

Safe salt levels for kids – ask the experts in live webchat


London: Do you worry about what goes into your kid’s food? Do you find it difficult to know which foods are high in additives? Children are very sensitive to what they eat, particularly when it comes to salt intake. Eating a high salt diet in childhood can significantly push blood pressure up meaning children who have an excess of salt in their diet have a higher blood pressure than those who eat the right amount.

To celebrate Salt Awareness Week which takes place from the 28th of January to the 4th of February we’ve got nutritionist Jo Butten coming into the studio. She’s popping in to give you some professional guidance on how to keep your child’s salt intake down. She will also be showing you which foods have a high salt content and which foods are okay to serve up on a regular basis.

Being an expert on the effects certain foods can have on the body Jo will also be able to answer any questions you have on the long-term impact of high salt impact on you and your children. If your child’s diet is an issue that concerns you why not come along and submit a question? Knowing that you are doing everything you can for your child’s health will not only give you peace of mind but will also get you and the rest of the family into better eating practices.

Jo Butten joins us live online at on Monday 28th January at 15:00 (GMT-1) to discuss salt intake for children

If you would like to post a question in advance you can do so online here:”

For more information visit