VEGETABLE-based savoury snacks are widely thought to be healthy options, but new research suggests some products could be endangering people's health due to high salt content.
A report by The George Institute for Global Health, the Heart Foundation and VicHealth says shoppers should treat marketing claims cautiously, as even highly salted products are claimed to be "lightly salted".
The report analysed salt content in more than 1500 savoury snack products found in major Australian supermarkets between 2013 and 2019.
Researchers found the saltiest product was DG&A Kale Chips Slow Roasted & Lightly Salted, which contained 7.8g of salt per 100g.
The chip was 26 times saltier than the lowest salted product - Thomas Chipman Certified Organic Vegetable Chips Lightly Salted Sweet Potato, with 0.3g of salt per 100g.
Simply 7 Lentil Chips Jalapeno was another top category offender, using 3.4g of salt per 100g - seven times more than its lower salt counterparts, Macro Air Puffed Fava Beans Pizza Flavour and Coles Gluten Free Pizza Flavoured Faba Bean Packs, which both contained 0.49g per 100g.
Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong said people should compare snacks by carefully reading the nutrition label.
"Don't let the marketing health halo that surrounds these veg and legume-based savoury snacks mislead you," she said.
"You're much better off having some colourful fresh veggie sticks, a piece of fruit or a handful of unsalted nuts than a packet of salty veggie or lentil chips to curb that afternoon craving."
The report found that of the 451 products analysed in 2019, the average salt content was 1.5g per 100g and salt content ranged from 0 to 7.8g of salt per 100g.
It also found that since 2013, the number of products in the savoury snack category had grown by 45 per cent.
For a list of the 10 saltiest and least salty snacks, click here.