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Changes in the sodium content of leading Australian fast-food products between 2009 and 2012

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The burden of ill health attributable to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other diet-related health risks is increasing in both developed and developing countries.1 Fast foods, which are convenient, quick and cheap, are generally nutrient-poor and eaten in large portions that can contribute significantly to energy, fat, sugar and sodium intake.2 Links between fast-food consumption and a range of chronic diseases have been made,3 with excess dietary sodium causing high blood pressure4 and a range of vascular diseases.5,6 Although there is no current definitive estimate of population dietary salt intake in Australia, it is widely accepted that average consumption is well above the government’s suggested dietary target of 4 g/day.7 About three-quarters of salt in the diet comes from processed and restaurant foods,4 with fast foods known to be a significant contributor in Western populations.8

In Australia, expenditure on fast foods has risen substantially over recent years