NEW RESEARCH REVEALS SALT HIDDEN IN BISCUITS

• Over 110 biscuits were as salty, or saltier than, Butterkist Salted Popcorn (0.9g per 100g)
• Nearly 90 per cent of biscuits receive an amber traffic light for salt, and 90 per cent are red for sugar 

Biscuits have become an everyday treat in our meetings, with a cuppa, or as a snack in our children's packed lunch. Most of us are aware that biscuits are full of fat and sugar, putting us and our children at increased risk of developing dental caries, obesity and diabetes; but we might not realise that the hidden salt is causing just as much damage - putting us at risk of developing high blood pressure. A new survey of 479 sweet biscuits from the major supermarket chains found having sweet biscuits could be adding more salt to your diet than you think.


The survey also revealed huge variations in the amount of salt between brands of the same biscuit type. Within digestive biscuits, some branded biscuits were shown to have more than DOUBLE the salt content of some supermarket own brand biscuits e.g. McVitie’s had 0.2g salt per digestive biscuit vs. Sainsbury’s So Organic with 0.09g per digestive biscuit.

Examples of biscuits high in salt
• Asda Fun Size Mini Milk Chocolate Digestives, 0.4g per 25g bag
• Sainsbury’s Giant White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies, 0.39g per 60g biscuit
• Asda Extra Special All Butter Belgian White Chocolate Cookies, 0.30g per 25g* biscuit
• McVitie’s Mini Gingerbread Men, 0.30g per 25g pack
• Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Ginger and oatflake cookies, 0.26g per 25g* biscuit
• Cadburys Milk Chocolate Digestives, 0.24g per 16g* biscuit
• McVitie’s Milk/Dark Chocolate Hobnobs, 0.20g per 19g* biscuit
*biscuit size calculated from nutritional information

Examples of biscuits low in salt
• Tesco Bourbon Cream Biscuits, trace per 14g biscuit (0.3g salt/100g product)
• Fox’s Fruit and Nut Chunkie, 0.08g per 26g* biscuit (0.3g salt/100g product)
• Waitrose Essential Nice Biscuits, trace per 8g* biscuit (0.3g salt/100g product)
• Jammie Dodgers, trace per 19g* biscuit (0.4g salt/100g product)
• Maryland Double Choc Cookies, trace per 11g* biscuit (0.4g salt/100g product)
*biscuit size calculated from nutritional information

CASH Nutritionist Kawther Hashem provides some tips on eating less salty biscuits:

What can you do?
- Make biscuits a treat and not an everyday occurrence. If you like to snack, opt for healthier alternatives e.g. fruit, nuts and plain popcorn
- When making your own biscuits, be sure to use unsalted butter, or even better, a mono or polyunsaturated fat e.g. corn oil or rapeseed oil
- Remember that baking powder is used as a raising agent when baking, but is not always necessary for biscuits. Avoid where possible or use potassium bicarbonate
- Compare nutrition labels and choose the lower salt options, less than 0.3 per 100g/less or trace for per biscuit
- If you are having a treat with your coffee or tea in a café, ask if the café has nutrition information available to help you choose a lower salt treat
- If you can’t resist a sweet treat, choose smaller biscuits and ensure you eat fewer of them
- Opt for more traditional biscuits e.g. bourbon biscuits or custard creams which were consistently lower in salt per biscuit across brands
- Don’t forget that biscuits are high in sugar and fat, so eat it as part of balanced diet