Well Being

Some Cheese Saltier Than Chips, Says UK Group; Avoid These High-Sodium Cheeses

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A UK group called Consensus Action on Salt and Health is sounding the alarm about salt in cheese, noting that one serving of cheddar has more sodium than a serving of chips, and some types of cheese are saltier by weight than seawater.

“We already know most cheese is high in fat,” said Katharine Jenner, director of CASH. “However we often add it to our meals without thinking how much salt it contains.”

The group tested 772 cheeses and cheese products on sale in UK supermarkets. Here are some you should be look out for.

High-Sodium Cheeses

Roquefort. The overall saltiest cheese was Roquefort, a type of French blue cheese made with sheep's milk that had 3.43 grams sodium per 100 gram serving, or about 980 mg sodium per serving.

Feta. Feta cheese was among the saltiest cheese varieties; along with cheese singles and halloumi, the average feta contained more sodium per 100 grams than seawater. A one ounce serving of feta cheese had an average of 717 mg sodium.

Cheese singles. A one-ounce serving of cheese singles had an average of 717 mg sodium.

Halloumi. A one-ounce serving of Halloumi cheese had an average of 774 mg sodium.

Cheddar. A one-ounce serving of cheddar cheese — apparently the most popular in the UK — contained an average of 520 milligrams sodium.

Low-Sodium Cheeses

Mozzarella. Mozzarella cheese was among those with the lowest sodium content. A one-ounce serving of Mozzarella had an average of 280 mg sodium.

Emmental. A one-ounce serving of Emmental cheese had an average of 306 mg sodium.

Wensleydale. A one-ounce serving of Wensleydale cheese had an average of 323 mg sodium.

Dairy Industry Objections

Judith Bryans, director of the UK's National Dairy Council, said, “Salt is an integral part of the cheese making process. It is not added for taste or flavour but for safety and technical reasons.”

“The Cash survey is mixing up the effect of cheese on health with the effect of salt on health,” Bryans added. “Cheese is a whole food with a complex nutritional make up which has not been shown to cause heart disease or stroke.”

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