RESEARCH has revealed that people in the North-East are surprised at how much salt, sugar and saturated fat is found in their favourite foods.

Individuals in the North-East took Change4Lifes 'Food IQ' quiz, designed to highlight levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat in popular foods.

The results show that many are largely unaware of what is in their food - with the great majority (87 per cent) of respondents from the region's Food IQs rating as low (scoring 50 per cent or under).

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The majority of people (83 per cent) don't realise that a pre-packed ham and cheese sandwich has more salt than a Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal, or a packet of ready salted crisps.

Seven in 10 (70 per cent) people don't realise that a small pepperoni pizza has more saturated fat than fish & chips.

Over half (63 per cent) don't know that a strawberry fat-free yoghurt has more sugar in it than a bowl of cornflakes or black coffee with two sugars.

And 58 per cent of people don't know that the daily maximum amount of salt recommended is only one teaspoon.

The low scores come despite the fact that most (82 per cent) people in the North-East surveyed by Change4Life report they would like to be healthier.

However, the research goes on to show that factors such as cost and time make it hard for them to choose the healthiest option.

Change4Life campaign ambassador Ainsley Harriott said: "You don't have to give up your family favourites or treats just to be food smart. Try to prepare food at home, cut down on saturated fat, swap high sugar options for lower ones, watch out for hidden salt in foods and check the label on the food you buy."