Leader comment: Wake up to the threat of processed food

Some Chinese ready meals were found to be particularly high in salt (Picture: PA)
Some Chinese ready meals were found to be particularly high in salt (Picture: PA)
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Salt, sugar and fat. We have evolved to crave all three – salt is an essential nutrient, sugar a great source of energy and fat has a range of benefits, including tiding us over during a famine. In days of yore, a pot belly could save your life.

The trouble is, in the developed world at least, we have abolished famine and turned every day into a potential feast.

And, as we all know, when we have too much of a good thing, it turns into a bad thing or, indeed, a fatal thing.

The diseases associated with excess consumption of salt, sugar and fat – high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, the list goes on – are some of the most pressing problems facing society today.

Health experts have warned that the NHS could be “crippled” and the economy seriously damaged.

But, if you are a food manufacturer, add just a little more of any one of these three magic ingredients and people are more likely to enjoy eating your food and give you their money.

So it shouldn’t actually be surprising that Chinese ready meals, only the latest example, contain more salt than we might expect.

It’s time to wake up to the threat posed by processed food.