• 7 out of 10 (70%) salted butters would receive a red traffic light for salt
• Read the labels carefully, ‘Low fat’ spreads can be even higher in salt than the full fat versions – One was saltier than seawater
• Some ‘slightly salted’ butters are SALTIER than ‘salted’ butter

Almost every fridge in the UK has a tub of butter or margarine in it, for baking, sauce making, pan frying and spreading on toast. Most of us know that butters and margarines are full of bad fats (saturated fat), putting us at increased risk of developing heart disease and gaining weight; but few of us are aware that they are also unnecessarily high in salt - putting us at risk of developing high blood pressure and increasing our risk of developing heart disease. A new survey of over 300 butter, margarine, oil and spread products from the major supermarket chains, found that having a portion of spread could be adding more salt to our diet than we think.

High examples of Butter NB. A portion has been standardised to 10g throughout [4];
1. Country Life Butter, 2g salt per 100g, 0.2g per portion
2. Essential Waitrose Salted Dairy Butter, 1.9g salt per 100g, 0.19g per portion
3. Simply M&S English Salted Butter, 1.75g salt per 100g, 0.18g per portion
4. Anchor Butter, 1.7g salt per 100g, 0.17g per portion
5. Asda English Salted Butter/Asda Smart Price Butter, 1.7g salt per 100g, 0.17g per portion

High examples of Margarines/Spreads;
1. Weight Watchers Dairy Spread, 2.5g salt per 100g, 0.3g per portion
2. Clover Lighter and Clover Spread, 1.8g salt per 100g, 0.18g per portion
3. Aldi Spread the Love, 1.7g salt per 100g, 0.17g per portion
4. Lidl Heavenly Butter Spread, 1.6g salt per 100g, 0.16g per portion
5. Marks & Spencer Touch of Butter, 1.6g salt per 100g, 0.16g per portion

Shockingly the labels can be deceptive too; the salt content of varieties claiming they are ‘slightly salted’ or ‘lighter’ often do not differ much from salted or full fat products. These products are targeting the health conscious shopper, who should expect these products to be lower in salt, when in fact they aren’t. So be sure to read the labels carefully!
• Weight Watchers Dairy Spread contains 2.5g salt per 100g – that’s saltier per 100g than seawater! vs Lurpak Spreadable Lighter Unsalted which contains NO salt per 100g (0g)
• Marks & Spencer Slightly Salted Softer Butter is actually saltier than its own Salted Farmhouse Butter (1.75g per 100g vs. 1.5 per 100g)

Salt is completely unnecessary in butter.  The good news is that unsalted varieties of butter are available from all supermarkets and brands, and lower salt spreads are available if you read the label.

Low examples of Margarines/Spreads;
1. Lurpak Spreadable Lighter Unsalted, 0g salt per 100g, 0g per portion
2. Lurpak Unsalted Spreadable, 0g salt per 100g, 0g per portion
3. Simply M&S Lower Fat Slightly Salted Spread, 0.75g salt per 100g, 0.08g per portion
4. Bertolli Light Made with Mild Olive Oil, 0.8g salt per 100g, 0.08g per portion
5. The Co-operative Spreadable Slightly Salted, 0.9g salt per 100g, 0.09g per portion

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

What can you do?
● Compare nutrition labels and choose the unsalted butter and margarine or lower salt options, less than 0.8 per 100g
● Think twice about diet spreads with less fat, they may have a higher salt content
● Have smaller portions or use it less often – a standard ‘portion’ is one catering pat of butter
● When cooking opt for olive oil, canola (rapeseed) oil  or other vegetable oils high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat when cooking, as they have no salt and less saturated fat than butter
● When baking, opt for recipes that allow you to replace butter and margarine with oil or eggs, ground nuts and fruit purees e.g. mashed banana
● If it is difficult to adapt the recipe, than use less butter and margarine than the recipe states
● Don’t forget that spreads are high in saturated fat, so eat it as part of balanced diet