How sushi sold on Britain's high street can be saltier than a BIG MAC

How sushi sold on UK high street can be saltier than two BIG MACS: Huge analysis reveals worst offenders

  • EXCLUSIVE: MailOnline audited dozens of options sold at Wasabi and Itsu
  • READ MORE: The FOUR little-known signs that you’ve eaten too much salt

High Street sushi can be even saltier than two Big Macs, analysis shows.

MailOnline audited dozens of options sold at Wasabi and Itsu, two of the UK’s best-loved Japanese chains.

The worst-offender — Itsu’s vegan sushi collection — was found to contain roughly 5.8g of salt.

This is almost all of an adult’s daily recommended allowance.

And it is around two-and-a-half times what is found in McDonald’s hallmark burger (2.2g).

MailOnline audited dozens of options sold at Wasabi and Itsu, two of the UK’s best-loved Japanese chains

For comparison, a packet of Walker’s salt and vinegar crisps or KP’s salted peanuts have around 0.4g of salt.

Itsu’s vegan sushi collection consists of vegetarian maki and baby avocado rolls.

It also comes with lightly pickled carrots, green beans, mint, ginger, crispy shallots and fresh avocado on a salad.

Similarly high levels of salt were found in Wasabi’s spicy salmon roll (5.4g) and its harmony set (5.3g).


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide 

That makes them 10 times saltier than a pack of Walker’s salt and vinegar crisps.

Our analysis — carried out on International Sushi Day — involved nearly 40 options.

Adults are advised to eat no more than 6g of salt per day.

Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure by increasing the amount of water the body retains, making the heart have to work harder.

This can, over time, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The NHS advises children to eat less salt than adults because their kidneys are not as developed and are less able to process it.

Hannah Whittaker, a registered dietician in Liverpool, said the sushi itself can be beneficial for our health but it is added sauces which people must look out for.

She told MailOnline: ‘One significant part of sushi packs is the small bottle of soya or other sauces that are provided to generally add flavour.

‘However, it is important to consider the salt content of this tiny packet and the impact on our health.

‘Opt for low-sodium soy sauce. These options can help reduce overall sodium/salt intake while still providing flavour. Even better omit the soya sauce.’

Many charities such as Action on Salt are calling on the government to get a tighter grip on the nutritional content in foods being served to the British public.

Nutritionist and campaign lead at Action on Salt, Sonia Pombo said: ‘Most of our salt intake is already in the food we buy, and we simply can’t take it out once it’s been added.

‘The food industry, including restaurants and takeaway chains should therefore acknowledge their role in public health and do more to reduce the salt content of their food.

‘Gradually reducing the salt that is added to our food is the most cost-effective measure for lowering blood pressure and thereby reducing the thousands of strokes and heart disease that are caused by this excessive salt intake.’

NHS data shows 26 per cent of adults in England are obese and a further 38 per cent are overweight but not obese.

Obesity rates have been on the rise for decades, with experts blaming sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets.

A Wasabi spokesperson said: ‘At Wasabi we are regularly reviewing our in-store menu, as well as our supermarket ready meals, so that our customers can have a wide choice of dishes to cater for their specific needs.

‘Across the Wasabi range, we have a large number of low salt, low sugar and low fat dishes, freshly prepared in Wasabi stores every day.

‘Our nutrition team is constantly exploring ways to reduce salt and saturated fat content in certain dishes without affecting the flavour that our customers love.’

MailOnline has asked Itsu to comment.


Itsu’s veggie sushi collection 

Price: £10.50

Calories: 584kcal

Fat: 14.6g

Salt: 5.78g

Sugar: 29.9g

Ingredients: Cooked Sushi Rice (rice, sushi vinegar (sugar, spirit vinegar, rice vinegar, salt, demerara sugar), sunflower oil), Avocado, Pickled Carrot (carrot, sushi vinegar (sugar, spirit vinegar, rice vinegar, water, salt, demerara sugar)), Green Beans, Spicy Sauce (rapeseed oil, vegan mayonnaise (water, rapeseed oil, thickener: modified starch, sugar, salt, acidity regulator: acetic acid; stabilisers: xanthan gum, guar gum; preservative: potassium sorbate, flavouring, colour: beta carotene), water, lemon juice, tahini (sesame), ginger puree, miso paste (water, soya beans, rice, salt, alcohol), sugar, gochujang paste (corn syrup, red pepper paste (red pepper powder, water, salt, onion, garlic), water, wheat flour, wheat, defatted soya bean, soya bean powder, glutinous rice, koji), salt, black pepper, chilli powder), Crispy Onions (onions, vegetable oil, wheat flour, salt), Teriyaki Sauce (sugar, soy sauce (water, soya beans, wheat, salt, alcohol), mirin, cornflour, colour: plain caramel; sake, spirit vinegar, yeast extract), Nori Seaweed, Mint, Chives, Lemon juice. Pickled Ginger (ginger, water, salt, acidity regulators: acetic acid, citric acid; preservative: potassium sorbate; sweetener: aspartame (a source of phenylalanine), sucralose, saccharin),Soy Sauce Bottle (water, soya beans, wheat, salt, alcohol), Wasabi Sachet (horseradish, humectant: sorbitol; water, reduced tapioca starch syrup, soya bean oil, wasabi japonica, salt, corn starch, mustard, spirulina, mustard oil, acidity regulator: citric acid; turmeric, antioxidant: ascorbic acid; thickener: xanthan gum).

Wasabi’s Spicy salmon roll

Price: £5.60

Size: 253g

Calories: 440kcal

Fat: 14.1g

Salt: 5.41g

Sugar: 9.6g

Ingredients: Seasoned Cooked White Sushi Rice (Water, White Sushi Rice, Sushi Seasoning (Sugar, Spirit Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, Water, Salt, Demerara Sugar)), Cooked Salmon Flakes (FISH), Cucumber, Avocado, Pickled Red Cabbage (Red Cabbage, White Sugar, Spirit Vinegar, Salt), Edamame Bean (SOYBEAN), Sriracha Mayo (Rapeseed Oil, Red Jalapeno Chilies (Red Nacho Sliced Jalapeño, Water, Salt, Acidity Regulator (E260), Firming Agent (E509)), Water, Sugar, Garlic Puree, Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Chilli Powder, Habanero Mash (Habanero Peppers, Salt, Acidity Regulator (E260)), Thickener (E1450), Stabilisers (E415, E412), Preservative (E202), Yeast Extract Powder, Thickener (E1414), Tabasco Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper, Salt), Colour (E160c)), Spring Onion, Nori Seaweed, Coriander, Kombu Dashi (Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635), Salt, Glucose, Dried Kelp Powder, Sugar, Kelp Extract (Dextrin, Kelp, Flavour Enhancer (E621), Salt)), SESAME Oil, White SESAME Seed. 

Wasabi’s Harmony Set

Price: £10.10

Size: 401g

Calories: 728kcal

Fat: 4.8g

Salt: 1.32g

Sugar: 2.9g

Ingredients: Seasoned Cooked White Sushi Rice (Water, White Sushi Rice, Sushi Seasoning (Sugar, Spirit Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, Water, Salt, Demerara Sugar)), Raw Salmon (FISH), Avocado, Cucumber, Fried Prawn (Shrimp (CRUSTACEAN), Breadcrumbs (WHEAT Flour, Palm Oil, Sugar, Yeast, Salt), Batter Mix (WHEAT Flour, Modified Cassava Starch, Corn Starch, Sea Salt, Thickening Agents (E412, E415)), Predust (Corn Starch, Potato Starch, WHEAT Flour), Stabilisers (E330, E332), Rapeseed Oil, SOYBEAN, SESAME Oil), Soy Sauce Sachet (Water, SOYBEAN, WHEAT, Salt), Crab Salad Mix (Imitation Crab Flake (Surimi (FISH, Sugar, Stabilisers (E451, E450)), Water, Tapioca Starch, Corn Starch, Salt, Sugar, Humectant (E420), Crab (CRUSTACEAN) Extract, Crab Flavour, SOYBEAN Oil, Colours (E120, E160(c))), Mayonnaise (Rapeseed Oil, Water, Pasteurised Free Range EGG Yolk, Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Corn Starch), Brown Crab (CRUSTACEAN) Meat, Lemon Juice, Salt, White Pepper), Nori Seaweed, White SESAME Seed, Black SESAME Seed, Wasabi Sachet (Horseradish Powder, Humectant (E420), Water, Corn Oil, Salt, Thickeners (E1442, E415), MUSTARD Oil, Acidity Regulator (E330), Fresh Wasabi, Turmeric Powder, Colour (E133)). 

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