How much salt and sugar are in YOUR favourite sauces? Use this guide to find out – as shock probe finds just 1 tablespoon of worst-offenders can be 8 times saltier than McDonald’s fries

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Too much salt raises blood pressure increasing risk of heart attacks and stokes
  •  Condiments are also packed with sugar and fat increasing heart disease risk 

Just one tablespoon of Britain’s best-loved sauces can be eight times saltier than a portion of McDonald’s fries.

MailOnline probed the nutritional value of more than 30 condiments, including ones made by Heinz, Hellmann’s and HP.

Analysis revealed one tablespoon of soy sauce can contain nearly half of an adult’s recommended salt limit per day. Meanwhile, the same amount of sweet chilli sauce has nearly a third of a person’s daily sugar intake.

Dietitians warn that consuming too much salt or sugar can contribute to high blood pressure, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes.

The full results of our audit can be found in the interactive graphic below. 

Hover over each product to see the exact number of calories, fat, salt and sugar per 100g/ml.

Kikkoman soy sauce topped the charts for salt, containing 16.9g of salt per 100ml.

Yet, in real terms, this equates to 5g per two tablespoons — a common serving size when used in a stir fry.

Similarly high salt levels were lurking in Amoy dark soy sauce (15.8g per 100ml), Colman’s English mustard (8.4g per 100g) and Tabasco sriracha sauce (6.7g per 100ml).

For comparison, a medium portion of McDonald’s fries contains 0.62g.

When broken down pound-for-pound, this amounts to 0.54g per 100g — meaning that some sauces are up to 31 times as salty.

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE? 

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: Five portions of fruit and vegetables, two whole-wheat cereal biscuits, two thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks), choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink six to eight cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide  

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Eating more than the NHS recommended 6g of salt per day can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

About three-quarters of the salt in our diet comes from packaged food.

Victoria Taylor, nutrition lead at the British Heart Foundation, told MailOnline: ‘Most of us eat too much salt.

‘You might think you don’t need to worry about salt if you are not adding it to your cooking, but most of the salt we consume is already in the food we buy, including condiments.’

While people who occasionally eat condiments in the recommended portion sizes should be fine, the high salt content can add up when used over time, Ms Taylor said.

Ms Taylor recommended home-made low-salt alternatives, such as a tzatziki-style dip mixing low-fat plain yoghurt, garlic and chopped cucumber.

Soy sauce is high in salt because it is one of the main ingredients used to make the condiment, along with soybeans and wheat. As well as stir fries, soy sauce is often eaten with sushi, fried rice and dumplings.

A spokesperson for Kikkoman said: ‘All soy sauces contain a large quantity of salt which is intrinsic to the characteristic flavour profile of the product. 

‘However, there is in fact some scientific research to prove that replacing salt with soy sauce may actually help to reduce overall salt intake.’

But hot sauces and mustard are also packed full of salt.

Colman’s Mustard contains 8.4g of salt per 100g, or the equivalent of 0.42g in a single serving, which the packaging states is 5g.

Tabasco Siracha Hot Chilli Sauce contains 6.7g of salt per 100ml. However, a typical one teaspoon serving size contains 0.3g.

There is also a surprising amount of sugar packed into flavourful sauces.

Blue Dragon Original Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce contains 54.7g of sugars in a 100ml serving, or 16.4g in a two-tablespoon serving. 

Meanwhile, in 100g of Heinz Tomato ketchup there is 22.8g. That equates to around 6.8g in a two-tablespoon serving.

To put that into context, health chiefs recommend consuming no more than 30g of free sugars each day, which are those added to food and drink.

The high amount of fat, salt and sugar packed into condiments may give your food an extra kick, but it can be damaging to your heart health

The high amount of fat, salt and sugar packed into condiments may give your food an extra kick, but it can be damaging to your heart health

For comparison, a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut contains 12g of sugar, while a can of Coca-Cola has 35g. 

Too much sugar increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain.

Meanwhile, creamy condiments such as mayonnaise, salad cream and tartare sauce contain a high amount of fat.

100g of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise contains 79g of fat and 6.2g of saturated. That’s 11g of fat and 0.9g of saturated fat per tablespoon.

That is almost half the fat in a medium McDonald’s fries which, contains 17g of fat and 1.5g of saturated fat.

Brits are told to limit saturated fat to 20g for women and 30g for men.

That’s because eating too much over time can increase cholesterol, which, in turn, raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

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