London, March 20 : Love to drink hot chocolate? Beware, it may be as salty as seawater with 16 times more salt than the maximum target, researchers warned.
The findings showed that each serving of chocolate powder is worse than eating a bag of crisps. Out of the 28 food categories analysed, only 'bread rolls' were found to reach the agreed salt reduction.
Most people were found to eat one third more than the maximum recommended intake which may lead to higher blood pressure, putting strain on the heart, arteries, kidneys and brain and eventually leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.
"Salt is the forgotten killer. We are shocked to see that many food manufacturers and retailers are still failing to meet the salt reduction targets, despite having had years to work towards them," Katharine Jenner, nutritionist at Consensus Action on Salt and Health -- a Britain-based organisation, was quoted as saying to the telegraph.co.uk.
Further, a huge disparity in similar food products was found.
A shopping basket of everyday items could contain 57g more salt depending on which brands were selected.
Some breakfast cereals contained just three per cent of the salt, compared to others, the researchers said.
Reducing daily salt intake from 8g to 6g per day could prevent 14,000 deaths a year, the researchers noted.