High street restaurant dishes from Pizza Express and Barburrito have more salt than a McDonald's Big Mac

Jessica Morris
Follow Jessica
Pizza Express' saltiest offering is three times that of a regular Big Mac meal. (Source: Getty)

Popular dishes at some of Britain's best-known high street chains actually contain more salt than junk food favourites like a Big Mac and regular fries from McDonalds.

That's according to research by Treated.com, which found some main course menu items on offer in high street chains such as Pizza Express and Barburrito "out-salt" what's generally seen as less healthy alternatives, like Pizza Hut and McDonalds.

"Fast food chains have earned a reputation for dispensing calorie-dense, unhealthy foods over the years, but it may come as a surprise to many that the salt content for some of their signature favourites are dwarfed in comparison to those on offer in more upmarket chains," it said.

The study points out nutritional information in the street restaurant sector is less readily available vis-a-vis the old food guard, which includes Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC.

But while fast food outlets offer saltier dishes than those listed below, it may come as a surprise that Pizza Express' saltiest offering is three times that of a regular Big Mac meal.

A high salt diet is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and circulatory problems. For adults, staying within the 2-6 gram range greatly reduces the risk of these conditions developing.

Restaurant Style Dish name Salt per serving (g)
Pizza Express Italian Napoletana 9.6
Barburrito Street food Beef burrito wrap* 9
Wetherspoons Pub food Gammon and eggs 8.8
Ask Italian Risotto pescatore 8.6
Beefeater Pub food Mixed grill 8.1
Harvester Farmhouse Mixed grill 8.01
Wagamama Japanese Grilled duck ramen 7.6
Zizzi Italian King prawn diavola rustica 7.5
Tortilla Street food Barbacoa burrito*** 7.4
Nando's Mozambican/Portuguese Chicken livers and crispy Portuguese roll 5.1
Yo Sushi Japanese Chicken yakisoba 4.3
Loch Fyne Seafood Chorizo and seafood fregola 3.43
Leon Healthy Moroccan meatballs hotbox 3

* Beef burrito wrap with selected options of white rice, pinto beans, onions and peppers, Ranchera salsa, cheese and guacamole.

** Barbacoa burrito with selected options of lime-cilantro rice, pinto beans, salsa verde, Monterey Jack cheese and guacamole.

Chain Meal Salt per serving (g)
Burger King Whopper and regular fries 3.7
KFC Fully loaded box meal 3.44
Domino's Personal pepperoni passion 3.35
Taco Bell Double decker taco and regular nacho chips 3.1
McDonald's Big mac and regular fries 2.9
Subway 6-inch Italian subway melt 2.3
Wimpy The original quarter pounder with Cheese meal 2.1
Pizza Hut Small Italian supreme 2.04

Related articles