Thursday 2 July 2015

Demand for seaweed surges as 2 in 3 UK women revealed to have low iodine levels

FileStore:Artwork:Other:Press Release Templates:itsu grocery:Background-01.jpgUK Iodine Deficiency At An All Time Low
Did you know that three quarters of pregnant women do not get enough iodine in their diet, while 84% are unaware that it is vital for the healthy development of their unborn baby.

I received this information on email from Itsu (above and below). It stopped me in my tracks for 3 reasons:
  1. I have known about iodine for years and years because firstly my Aunt used to have her own Health Food Shop in Ireland and secondly, my Mum regularly monitors her Iodine levels as they often go LOW. She does this by putting liquid Iodine on her thigh at night. If it has soaked up in the morning her body needs it and is therefore low and if it hasn't - her leg is stained - then she is not low. I tried to do the test myself about 8 months ago but could not find a shop here selling liquid Iodine whereas in Ireland my Mum gets it from Health Food Shops very easily. So I self-diagnosed myself and took Sea Kelp in tablet form for a while.
  2. Because I am pregnant myself and was in the very early days when the email hopped into my inbox and finally;
  3. Because when I was working I had lunch in Itsu nearly every day, and it was one of my absolute favourite places to eat, so I really appreciated getting an email from THEM!
Of course I replied rather quickly, and got 4 packets of Seaweed Thins sent for review. 

I munched 3 packs within days, and have been sitting on the 4th pack (perhaps I am topped up enough now), when spookily my Mum rung me yesterday and said she's gone low again (having done the self home-test) so I have promised to post my remaining 4th packet to her.

They are salty and melt on the tongue - simply delicious!

"Researchers say more advice is needed to ensure expectant mothers and breastfeeding mums know the importance of iodine and how to get it in the diet.  At present a diet of sea fish and dairy foods is the best way to improve iodine intake and research last July, published by Glasgow University, suggested eating seaweed could help tackle iodine deficiencies. A shortage of iodine affects 1.9 billion people globally and is the most preventable cause of intellectual disability, and the UK is ranked 8th in a list of iodine-deficient countries in the world.
Seaweed Thins are becoming an increasingly popular health swap for consumers with 1.5 million packs sold in 2014, a 178% year on year increase.
Iodine has long been considered a vital mineral for wellbeing and the secret to unlocking effective metabolism. However recent studies show that a shocking two in three British girls and women are now thought to have low iodine levels.[1] Health professionals[2] predict this ratio is getting worse and are recommending consumers try eating seaweed in a special effort to revert this.

Iodine has been linked to low IQ, fatigue, miscarriages and problems with the thyroid - the gland in the neck that regulates metabolism and early development. Doctors are now calling on the government to have iodine added to salt in the UK[3] and to educate consumers in how they can up their daily amounts.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says iodine deficiency is the biggest international cause of mental impairment and have urged worldwide governments to add it to salt as a prerequisite requirement. The Morton Salt Company was the first to add iodine to their salt back in 1924 at the request of the US government. Since then many countries, including Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and more recently India have followed suit.

DrVanderpump of the Royal Free Hospital in London said: As soon as you even mention salt in Britain, people start talking about high blood pressure and strokes. Awareness is getting better but thats why I think the Government doesnt want to intervene, because its always easier to leave the status quo. Its ironic that we fund programmes to iodise the salt of Third World countries, yet we dont bother about our own.”

Trace amounts of iodine are found in dairy products but richly abundant in some seafoods such as cod and scallops. However with sustainable fishing being such a hot current topic; consumers are being urged to seek out other food sources to meet their quota; such as seaweed.

Iodine boasts an impressive array of health benefits including:

Maintaining healthy skin and hair
Removes free-radicals from cells & is therefore good for anti-ageing.

Helping regulate metabolism
Vital for normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which plays an important role in metabolism.

Maintaining energy levels
Ensure efficient utilisation of calories to maintain energy & prevent calories being deposited as excess fat.

Stimulates and increases activity of antioxidants to provide defence against various diseases.

Creative Director of itsu [grocery] Julian Metcalfe said: Health is at the heart of our business. Our itsu seaweed thins are packed with vitamins and minerals from the sea that sometimes arent easy to find in our everyday diets. We have spent hours in product development creating a delicious and convenient snack to make nutritious eating beautiful and easy. itsu were the first to bring seaweed thins to UK supermarket shelves back in 2012 and today they are our top selling product. We envisage that sales will continue to increase as more consumers become aware of the necessity to up their iodine levels.

itsu [grocery] seaweed thins are widely available to the British public from:
  • Sainsburys
  • Waitrose
  • Ocado
  • Tesco and 
  • Amazon

·  Crispy Seaweed Thins are full of nutrients, low in saturated fat and have only 24 calories per pack. Harvested from crystal clear seas around South Korea, itsu seaweed is rolled, roasted then seasoned to perfection. Seaweed is an excellent source of healthy nutrients, minerals and dietary fibre.

·  Formats: x3 multipack, 15g  (RRP: £1.95/unit). 
   Single pack, 5g (RRP: £1)

·  Available in two delicious flavours: Original and Wasabi
  For more information on the rest of the itsu [grocery] range please visit:

About itsu
itsu restaurants and shops were created by the founders of Pret a Manger. itsu is a rapidly growing, healthy food on-the-go brand with 54 shops in and around London. itsu is dedicated to butterfly light, Asian- inspired, low-fat nutritious food. The itsu brand mission is to help people to eat beautiful.
Chefs prepare the fresh dishes every hour within store and is almost entirely dairy, wheat, fat & mayonnaise free. Even the drinks are low sugar. The seasonal menu is designed around protein packed & low carbohydrate salads, hearty & low fat chicken noodle soups, delicious hot brown rice potsu&on a beds.

About itsu [grocery]
itsu [grocery] was created to take the much loved itsu products far and wide into delicatessens, health food shops & supermarkets. The eat beautifulitsu [grocery] range celebrates the amazing flavours of the Far East; high in nutrients yet refreshingly low in calories and saturated fat.  Products include miso soups, chocolate edamame, rice cakes, seaweed thins, crystal noodle [cups]...with plenty more on the way.
To learn more about the range of itsu grocery products please visit: or visit our Facebook page at
About Metcalfes Food Company
Metcalfes Food Company is the innovative food company founded by Julian Metcalfe (as in Pret A Manger and itsu). We make delicious, light food and drink under the itsu and Metcalfes skinny brands.
For more information please visit

[1] Study carried out by Bristol and Surrey Universities
[2]The UK Iodine Group believes we should prioritise efforts to boost the iodine intake of teenage girls"

They day that my 4 packets arrived I was so anxious to get them in my tummy, I took the worst photo I have ever taken, below, to record their arrival and then sat posting them into my mouth

The majority of the content in this post was provided to me by Itsu apart from my 3 bullet points in the outset. It is a subject I am passionate about though, so was only to willing to share (the words not the food.......... apart from perhaps the 4th pack with me Mammy :-)  )



  1. ooh, very interesting... I wonder if maybe I'm low in iodine because my metabolism is shot to pieces. I do love seaweed, and going to look out for these on our next trip to the supermarket xx

  2. Interesting. I wonder if it is included in a blood test. I am not sure about self mediating especially if pregnant, but it is something I would ask my midwife about if I was pregnant,

  3. I love the Itsu range, the rice cakes are my favourite.

  4. I didn't know the stats about how many pregnant women are deficient in iodine. I wonder what these taste like?

  5. It is a shame that it is not regularly tested. Over the past 5 years I have been regularly tested for all sorts due to pregnancy and not once was iodine mentioned

  6. I stopped concentrating at the bit where you said 'because I am pregnant myself.' I had no idea. I'm so excited for you. How long to go? Woohoo! xxxxx

  7. This is really interesting - I had to admit I had no idea about iodine!
    Congratulations on your pregnancy as well! x

  8. This is really interesting, I literally had no clue about iodine before reading this xx

  9. We're so lucky nowadays to have food and trends from across the world made readily available to us. The rise of so called superfoods can only be a good one.

  10. I had no idea about iodine levels before reading this - off to see if I can find some in the health food shop

  11. I hadnt come across this in my pregnancies! Seaweed is yummy tho!

  12. Ooh yum - I love seaweed! Really interesting, about your Mum's technique for checking she had enough iodine.

  13. I had no idea about the importance of iodine - and i have had four children!! Thank you for sharing. Kaz x

  14. ooh didn't know about the iodine thing at all. I bet I'm low! This has given me an interest in trying these, although i hate chinese seaweed so I can't see that I'd like it. Congrats on the pregnancy anyway my lovely xx

  15. I love Itsu and I have seen these for sale - do they not taste a bit fishy? That's been my problem with seaweed in the past and I'd love to find some that wasn't!

  16. So pleased you've got such a great supplement and hope you can keep it up! Looks fab :) XX


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