Over three quarters of British people unaware of hidden salt in foods

New survey reveals how most of us are oblivious to what 'nasties' are lurking inside our meals

The British public is still unaware of how much salt, sugar and saturated fat is in their favourite foods new research has revealed.

Results show that the majority of people are largely unaware of what is in their snacks, takeaways and ready meals with 77 per cent of respondent receiving a low food IQ rating.

Food IQ quiz revealed how the majority of people don't know what extras are in their food © Rex

Over half of the people surveyed didn’t know that the daily maximum amount of salt recommended is only one teaspoon.

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While 85 per cent didn’t realise that a pre-packed ham and cheese sandwich has more salt than a Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal.

The newly launched ‘Food IQ’ quiz is designed to highlight levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat in popular foods in connection with the healthy living campaign Change4Life.

Results from the report also revealed that only three of the 2000 adults that took part in the quiz have correctly answered all 12 questions.

The majority of people didn’t know that a fat-free strawberry yoghurt has more sugar in it than a bowl of cornflakes.

[Related: TV chefs' recipes found to contain more calories than ready meals in leading supermarkets]


The low scores come despite the fact 84 per cent of those who took the Food IQ quiz said they would like to be healthier. 

Nutrition guideline labels are being ignored by shoppers © RexFactors including time and cost are preventing people from choosing the healthiest options.

The price of food was a concern for those when shopping with more than half opting for the items which they are sure the whole family will eat over fresh ingredients.

Change4Life campaign ambassador Ainsley Harriott said: “It’s really important to be aware of what hidden nasties may be in your food, and to know what you’re putting in your or your family’s bodies.

"Some of our favourite meals, takeaways and snacks contain high amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fat – it's our job to make sure that we know where they are hiding!”

Ainsley added: “But it is possible to eat well on a budget, and you don’t have to give up your family favourites or treats just to be food smart. There are simple changes you can make which will help: try to prepare food at home, cut down on saturated fat, swap high sugar options for lower ones, watch out for hidden salt in foods and check the label on the food you buy.”

Find out what your Food IQ is by taking the quiz on the Change4Life Facebook page.