An alarming new survey has found that some variations of the basil-based sauces contain more salt than a McDonalds’ Hamburger.
In addition, two products made by the popular brand Sacla were found to be 30 percent saltier than seawater, with more than twice as much of the mineral per 100g than peanuts.
Consensus on Salt and Health (Cash) flagged that the manufacturer had actually upped the amount of salt in its pesto by 18% since 2009, despite increasing pressure on the food industry to cut down.
“Pesto is an everyday product eaten by adults and children alike, but people might not realise just how salty it can be,” Cash assistant nutritionist Sarah Alderton said.
“None of the products we surveyed could be described as ‘healthy’, so consider having pesto in smaller portions, less frequently, or try other pasta sauces lower in salt and fat instead.”
Cash also warned that feeding kids sauces that are high in salt cold heighten their risk of developing high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks later in life.
But it’s not all bad news for pesto lovers.
There are a few expert-approved options on the market.
Tesco Reduced Fat Red Pesto, Aldi's Specially Selected Italian Pesto Genovese and Italian Pesto Rosso, Jamie Oliver Green Pesto and Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Pesto Alla Genovese all include less than 1g of salt per 100g.