Three of Canada’s health-focused associations – the Canadian Stroke Network, the Canadian Obesity Network and the Advanced Foods and Materials Network – yesterday awarded the second annual national Salt Lick Award to the country’s fast food pizza producers for loading the popular take-out meal with huge amounts of sodium.
Generally, the amount of salt in a couple of pieces of pizza from a fast food chain far exceeds the recommended total daily salt intake for adults of 1500 milligrams – two pieces of Pepperoni Lover’s pizza at Pizza Hut, for example, contains 3000 milligrams of sodium.
In fact, so many examples of sodium-laden pizza products were found across the country that the trio decided to grant the Salt Lick Award to the pizza industry as a whole. The first award was given to A&W in 2008 for their “Chubby Junior” meal, a fast food option that contains 1900 milligrams of sodium.
According to Statistics Canada, processed foods are the main source of sodium in the diets of Canadians, accounting for 77 percent of the average daily sodium intake. The report found that pizza, submarines, hamburgers and hotdogs account for a large percentage of daily salt intakes.
‘High levels of sodium in fast and prepared foods often go hand-in-hand with higher calories and fat content, adding significant health risks to the equation,’ explained Dr. Arya M. Sharma, Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network. ‘Overweight and obese people have heightened sensitivity to the effects of sodium, and will experience higher increases in blood pressure in response to sodium intake than normal-weight individuals.’
The Salt Lick Award coincides with World Salt Awareness Week, a campaign by 20 countries around the world to highlight the excessive amounts of sodium in fast food and restaurant fare.