GOOD

America Has the Saltiest Fast Food in the World

American Chicken McNuggets are more than twice as salty as British ones.


We're number one, America—when it comes to our ability to pump as much salt into our food as humanly possible! A new global study of fast food found that U.S. pizzas, burgers, fried chicken, and fries are packed with even more salt than the fast foods exiting drive-through windows elsewhere in the world.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, examined the salty offerings of six fast food chains—Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Subway—in six countries—Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. fast food industry consistently delivered more salt per gram than the (still very salty!) fast-food average. America has got the saltiest pizzas in the world. The salt levels in our "savory breakfast items" are comparatively ridiculous. McDonald's Chicken McNuggets sold in the United States contain two and a half times more salt than do British McNuggets. (Impressively, our fast food salads contain only an average amount of salt).


This is a problem for American lifespans—according to the study, a moderate reduction in our collective salt intake could save more American lives than similar public health efforts to cut smoking. But the processed food industry has been slow to come on board with salt reduction efforts, claiming that cutting salt from its foods is just too technically difficult to pull off. Besides, salt acts like crack to eaters who get hooked on it.

This study suggests that fast-food restaurants are fully capable of reducing the salt content in their foods—even if they don't stop serving up the overwhelmingly unhealthy, nutrient-deficient, deep-fried, fatty fare consumers have grown to expect from them. Government initiatives in the United Kingdom to reduce salt content in processed foods have made a dent in salt levels there, and it hasn't stopped British people from eating McDonald's. Chicken McNuggets aren't good, but some are better than others.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user LabyrinthX

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