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Weight loss ready meals contain more salt than a HOT DOG

It can be hard to diet when you’re busy, which is why slimming ready meals can be a godsend.

But though these weight loss microwave meals may be relatively low in calories, they can be absolutely packed with salt.

An exclusive analysis by FEMAIL has revealed that some of the best-selling slimming ready meals contain nearly as much salt as a hot dog – a third of an adult’s recommended daily allowance.

The data reveals that the saltiest meal contains more than half the salt an adult should consume in an entire day.

It comes after Aldi’s recently launch of a new range of low-calorie meals to rival Slimming World and Weight Watchers.

Aldi's new range looks a lot like its rival Slimming World's range of microwave meals

Can you tell which is Aldi’s meal and which is Slimming World’s? Aldi’s new range (right, its Chicken Tikka Masala meal) looks a lot like its rival Slimming World’s range of microwave meals (left)

FEMAIL analysed four different types of ready meal from best-selling brands such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers, as well as some supermarket own-brand options where available.

The investigation’s saltiest meal was made by Slimming World.

The hit diet brand’s Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal for one contains a whopping 4g of salt.

That’s nearly double the amount in the average frankfurter on a white bun: 2.4g. 

The meal was also the fattiest and contained the most calories of the weight loss versions of this takeaway that FEMAIL analysed: 405kcal.

Slimming World had three of the saltiest ready meals out of four tested by FEMAIL.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Supermarket/brand and productCalories (kcal)Fat (g) Sugar (g) Salt (g) 
Slimming World Chicken Tikka Masala (500g for one) 405 13 
Weight Watchers Chicken Tikka Masala (320g for one)379 5.8 11.2 1.6 
Aldi Slim Free Chicken Tikka Masala (500g for one)3715.2 14 
Slim Rice with Chicken Tikka Masala (250g for one) 120 3.25 2.5 
Slimming World's Meatballs & Pasta dish contains 539 calories

Aldi's very similar-looking version which contains 521

Slimming World’s Meatballs & Pasta dish (left) contains 539 calories, compared to Aldi’s very similar-looking version which contains 521 (right)

Meatballs and Pasta
Supermarket/brand and productCalories (kcal)Fat (g) Sugar (g) Salt (g) 
Slimming World Meatballs & Pasta with a Spicy Tomato Sauce (550g for one) 539 7.07 13.75 2.02 
Aldi Slim Free Meatballs & Pasta (550g for one)52111 14 1.4 
Weight Watchers Meatball Penne In Spicy Tomato Sauce (400g for one)443 11.3 12.4 1.7 
Kirstys Italian Spicy Meatballs with Rainbow Vegetti (400g for one)305 11 19 1.2 

Slimming World also had three of the most calorific ready meals when compared against Weight Watchers and Aldi. 

But it was one of Aldi’s new ready meals that was deemed the saltiest in the Vegetable Chilli category. 

Its Slim Free Three Bean and Roasted Veg Chilli for one contains 2.3g of salt – that’s more than a third of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of sodium: 6g. 

Aldi also had the sugariest version of meatballs with pasta.

The sugariest ready meal of all however was another dish by Slimming World. Its Three-Bean & Roasted Veg Chilli contains a whopping 23.65g of sugar per meal for one. 

Chicken Saag
Supermarket/brand and productCalories (kcal)Fat (g) Sugar (g) Salt (g) 
ASDA High Protein Chicken Saag Masala (400g) 424 5.1 8.7 1.4 
Slimming World Chicken Saag (500g for one) 395 11.5 2.5 
Aldi Slim Free Chicken Saag (500g for one)3222.2 
Tesco Beautifully Balanced Chicken Sagg Potato Ready Meal (371g)332 6.5 11 1.6 
Aldi's new range of Slim Free meals look very similar to Slimming World's collection and they are in very similar flavours too

Aldi’s new range of Slim Free meals look very similar to Slimming World’s collection and they are in very similar flavours too

Vegetable Chilli
Supermarket/brand and productCalories (kcal)Fat (g) Sugar (g) Salt (g) 
Slimming World Three-Bean & Roasted Veg Chilli (550g for one)335.52.75 23.65 1.1 
Aldi Slim Free Three Bean and Roasted Veg Chilli (500g for one)293 2.5 13 2.3 

Asda had the most calorific version of a slimming chicken saag masala ready meal for one, with its high protein microwave dinner containing 424 calories.

The ready meal isn’t from the supermarket’s range of ready meals, but contains less sugar, salt and fat than Tesco and Slimming World’s version.

A Slimming World spokesman said: ‘We don’t recommend people eat ready meals every day, and cooking healthy, filling meals from scratch is – and always will be – at the heart of Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan. 

‘However, our members tell us our food range, developed with Iceland, helps them to stay on track with their weight loss by providing them with healthy, filling meals on those inevitable occasions when they’re short of time and unable to prepare a home-cooked meal. 

‘Because of our generous portions – they all come in 450g-550g packs – our meals may appear higher in salt, however, they only contain tiny amounts of added salt and the salt content comes from ingredients we use for flavouring, such as soy sauce and stock.’ 

Julie Ashfield, joint managing director of corporate buying at Aldi, said: ‘Our Slim Free ready meal range is aimed at customers who enjoy healthy eating without compromising on taste or quality. At just £1.99 each, they offer excellent value.’ 

A spokesman for Weight Watchers said: ‘Weight Watchers believes that making nutritious home cooked meals is the key to creating healthy habits for life. 

‘However, we know that life gets busy so we provide one of the largest range of meals, products and inspiration for great healthy alternatives to home cooking. We strongly believe that you don’t have to go without great tasting food to eat healthily and lose weight. 

‘We continually work with our nutritionists and partners to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats across our products range, aiming to meet or beat targets set by Public Health England, to ensure we are providing healthy meals that anyone can enjoy. We also encourage people to serve our main meals with healthy vegetables.’

All brands have been contacted for comment.