Wheat or dairy-free products can be loaded with salt

Read labels to check what you are buying

People choosing wheat or dairy-free products could be risking their heart health because many are loaded with salt, a study reveals.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) surveyed 71 own-label ‘free from’ products from five leading supermarkets in the UK. Over half contained more salt than the retailer’s standard version of the product. Some had six times as much.

Experts urged consumers to always check the labels. For example, Sainsbury’s Free From Jaffa Cakes have 0.67g of salt per 100g, compared with 0.1g of salt per 100g in standard Sainsbury’s Jaffa Cakes. This is more than six times the salt level of the standard version.

Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH and professor of cardiovascular medicine said: ‘In general, it has been the supermarket own-label products that have led the way in salt reduction, but it seems that own-label products for people with existing health problems have not been a top priority for the retailers.

‘They must now reformulate the higher-salt products immediately, so that people suffering from Coeliac disease or other related conditions do not have to put their health in further jeopardy.’

He said people should aim to keep their salt consumption below the recommended maximum limit of 6g a day. Too much salt in the diet raises the risk of heart disease.

A spokeswoman for the British Nutrition Foundation said: ‘The advice for people selecting ‘free from’ foods is the same as for other consumers buying any foods – check the labels. Be savvy about what you buy.’

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