Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Want Some Salt with Those Fries? Canadians Eating Some of the Saltiest Fast Foods: Study Finds Fast Foods Saltier in Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Want Some Salt with Those Fries? Canadians Eating Some of the Saltiest Fast Foods: Study Finds Fast Foods Saltier in Canada

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Canada's fast-food industry has shirked its responsibilities to consumers by serving some of the saltiest menu offerings in the world, an international group of researchers said Monday.

Canadian incarnations of fast-food offerings routinely feature higher salt content than many of their international counterparts, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers in six countries compared more than 2,100 food products from international chains with locations around the world. Standard offerings from McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Domino's Pizza, Subway and Pizza Hut were analyzed for the amount of sodium found per hundred grams of food.

In categories ranging from french fries to salads, Canada's versions of the popular dishes featured either the highest or second highest sodium levels of the countries included in the study.

Salt levels varied dramatically between the six countries, with France and the U.K. boasting the lowest overall sodium values. The United States often vied with Canada for the highest scores, while New Zealand and Australia rounded out the other participants.

Norm Campbell, study co-author and professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, said the findings cast doubt on common wisdom coming from the restaurant sector.

Industry officials have long argued that technical issues prevent them from reducing the salt content of standard menu offerings, citing altered taste and texture or increased bacteria levels in the lower-sodium versions, he said.

The latest study suggests those arguments don't hold water, he said.

"Other countries and other companies are able to produce lower salt options and put them out," Campbell said in a telephone interview. "Salt levels vary widely. There are certainly no technical issues that stand in the way."

The disparity between Canada's food options and those on offer elsewhere in the world was sometimes dizzying, Campbell said. …

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