Australians are being told to think twice before reaching for the crackers and dip this Christmas - for the sake of their hearts.
New research reveals some dips contain so much salt they are saltier than seawater. When combined with some crackers, a person can consume more than half a day's worth of salt in just one serve.
Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health unpacked the levels of hidden salt in 850 dips and nearly 1300 crackers sold on supermarket shelves.
Australians are being told to think twice before reaching for the crackers and dip this Christmas - for the sake of their hearts. Pictured: Fresh Fodder Smokey Taramosalata (left) has 4.82g of salt in 100g and Fresh Fodder Peppered Taramosalata (right) has 4.82g per 100g
Plain Fresh Fodder Taramosalata has 4.8g of salt per 100g
Wattle Valley Delish Olive Medley (left) with Feta has 3g per 100g while The Olive Branch Gourmet Tarama (right) has 2.95g per 100g
Nutritionist and the report's lead author Clare Farrand says the results are alarming.
'Just looking at the average dip and average cracker you would be eating 1.6 grams of salt in an average serving, now considering you are not meant to eat any more than five grams of salt per day this equates to nearly a third of that,' said Ms Farrand.
'If you combined the highest salt dip with the highest salt cracker you would be eating at least three grams of salt in that average serving, so three grams out of a daily five grams, that's huge.'
From 2013 to 2017 the average salt content of dips increased by 14 per cent, the research showed.
Taramosalata, olive and aioli dips had the highest levels of salt on average. The saltiest dip, Fresh Fodder Taramosalata, contained 4.8 grams of salt per 100 grams - this is almost 400 times saltier than the least salty dip.
Tzatziki and vegetable dips, including hummus, guacamole and eggplant dips, had the lowest average salt contents.
Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh Thins Original Rosemary & Sea Salt flavour (left) has 5.25g of salt per 100g while Fantastic Delites Rice Snacks Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar Flavour (right) has 4g per 100g
Always Fresh Grissini Rosemary & Sea Salt flavour has 3.83g of salt per 100g
Peckish Rice Crackers Sea Salt & Vinegar Flavour has 3.75g of salt per 100g
Fantastic Rice Crackers Salt & Vinegar Flavour hsa 3.43g of salt per 100g
The good news is that the average salt content of crackers has decreased by nearly 16 per cent since 2010.
However there is still great variation in salt levels among savoury biscuits, ranging from zero salt to 5.3 grams per 100 grams.
Ms Farrand believes a person could easily eat an entire day's worth of salt when a tub of dip and a packet of crackers is shared between two people.
Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly echoed the concerns.
'Excess salt is directly linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke, heart and kidney disease,' said Ms Jolly.
The new research was part of VicHealth and the Heart Foundation's ongoing Unpack the Salt campaign and has led to calls for a national target for salt content of dips.
The Five Saltiest Dips
1. Fresh Fodder - Smokey Taramosalata - 4.82g of salt in 100g
2. Fresh Fodder - Peppered Taramosalata - 4.82g per 100g
3. Fresh Fodder - Taramosalata - 4.8g per 100g
4. Wattle Valley Delish Olive Medley with Feta - 3g per 100g
5. The Olive Branch - Gourmet Tarama - 2.95g per 100g
The Five Saltiest Crackers
1. Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh Thins Original - Rosemary & Sea Salt - 5.25g per 100g
2. Fantastic Delites Rice Snacks - Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar Flavour - 4g per 100g
3. Always Fresh Grissini - Rosemary & Sea Salt - 3.83g per 100g
4. Peckish Rice Crackers - Sea Salt & Vinegar Flavour - 3.75g per 100g
5. Fantastic Rice Crackers - Salt & Vinegar Flavour - 3.43g per 100g