Over recent years, wraps have become an increasingly popular choice with a 35 per cent increase in the sales of wraps each year.
While often perceived as a healthy choice, or lighter alternative to bread, a new review commissioned by Helga's and conducted by the University of Newcastle has found the top selling wraps not only contain alarmingly high amounts of salt but a number also contain artificial preservatives.
The review examined the top selling wraps in supermarkets over a 12-month period. The main finding was that the amount of salt found in wraps varied significantly between brands with some wraps containing six times as much salt as others.
Of concern was that popular varieties of wraps could contain more than double the amount of salt than is recommended.
It appears that while consumers are aware of the need to consume high fibre and wholegrain varieties, unfortunately when we choose our wraps, we are not considering the addition of excessive amounts of salt.
As wraps are a food that some of us will eat regularly, we do need to pay attention to how much extra salt is slipping into our diets.
Ideally, no more than 1600mg of sodium as an upper limit should be consumed each day. Some wraps contain more than a third of this amount in a single serve, and that is minus fillings such as processed meat, cheese and sauces which can add significantly more sodium into our diets in just one meal.
High sodium diets are linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease long term and fluid retention and bloating on a daily basis.
For this reason, aiming for foods that have no more than 400mg of sodium per 100g is a good reference point, and specifically making sure that the wraps you buy for your family on a regular basis are not packing much extra salt into the diet.
Simply swapping from a high salt to a lower salt wrap can save up to 90 teaspoons of salt from your diet over a 12-month period.
And it also appears we need to be more careful when it comes to the additives found in the wraps we are purchasing.
The University of Newcastle found that 17 of the 22 wraps examined in this report contain artificial preservatives including 200 (potassium sorbate), 282 (calcium propionate) and 281 (sodium propionate).
While these molecules are naturally formed in our body as part of the digestive process, it is largely uncertain the effect of cumulative amounts of these food additives have on our health long term.
For any individual wanting to avoid extra additives slipping their way into the diet, this report now shows how important it is to check to ensure your regular wraps do not contain these additives.
Like any food, wraps can be a nutritious daily food option, especially when they contain fibre and wholegrains but this report indicates that the wraps we think are healthy may not be as healthy as we think we are.
The key is to always check ingredient lists and nutritional panels to make sure excessive amounts of salt and/or artificial preservatives are not unknowingly slipping in.