Beware of hidden calories and additives!

If you are fond of microwave meals and takeaways, then you may be finding it hard to trim down in time for summer or keep your cholesterol levels in check, even if you think you make healthy choices!

This is because many foods are high in 'hidden' calories and additives that can be a source of extra, unnecessary ingredients like salt, fat and sugar.

The Heart Foundation recently released a statement warning people about the amount of salt and saturated fat they were consuming in foods.

The Foundation's Victoria branch revealed the findings of a report, which showed that many Victorian men were eating over half the recommended amount of salt.

It also found that both men and women had abnormal cholesterol levels and one in four had high blood pressure.

The Heart Foundation is calling on the government to reduce the amount of added salt and fat that is put into packaged foods - an example of 'hidden' additives that could be damaging our health.

"We can all be better informed about making healthier food and lifestyle choices but government, the food industry, organisations like the Heart Foundation and the community have a responsibility to ensure healthier choices, low in salt and saturated fats are available," said Kellie-Ann Jolly, chief executive of the Victorian branch.

While this report is focused on eliminating salt and fats, another example could be that of sugar.

Foods seem to be getting sweeter as time goes on, with sugar finding its way into a variety of produce including breads, pastas and 'savoury' sauces.

Some cereals, snack bars and yoghurts may also be branded as healthy, even though they contain incredibly high sugar levels.

It's important that consumers are aware not only to look out for fats and salts, but extra sugar as well.

Indulging in too much of this ingredient can add centimetres to your waistline and may even increase your risk of obesity and diabetes.

So next time you are in the supermarket, make sure you check the backs of packets and try to beware of the 'hidden calories!'

Watching your weight? Use a sugar replacement! Naturally Sweet Stevia and Xylitol are low in calories yet still high in flavour.

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