Survey Reveals High Levels Of Salt In Bread

A new study has found families may be eating surprisingly high levels of salt in their morning toast and lunchtime sandwiches – possibly as much as a bag of potato chips.

The George Institute for Global Research surveyed 1500 bread products and found many had more than the recommended amount of sodium (salt).

One brand of bread had twice as much salt in a single slice than a small bag of potato chips.

Stroke Foundation National Health Promotion Manager Julia Rout said there were lessons for New Zealanders in the Australian research.

“Too much salt is a leading cause of high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of stroke,” she says.

“A lot of the salt we eat is in processed foods, and it’s very easy to lose track of how much salt we’re eating. Bread is a classic example. We all know chips are salty and shouldn’t send our kids off to school with them every day, but there could be as much salt in their sandwiches.”

The maximum daily amount of salt recommended for adults is about 6g (2300mg sodium) – roughly the size of a teaspoon. In bread, less than 450mg of sodium per 100g is recommended.

But the Stroke Foundation found one bread on a local supermarket shelf that contained 525mg of sodium per 100g – much higher than at least one popular brand of chips.

“Just two slices of that bread – such as toast for breakfast - would contain 600mg of sodium,” Julia Rout says.

Several other breads on our shelves were around the 450mg mark.

“Of course good quality bread does have health benefits such fibre, and we’re not saying people should cut it out of their diet,” Julia Rout says.

“Just bear in mind that a sandwich might have more salt than you think - especially if it has processed meat like ham in it - and weigh it up as part of your balanced, healthy diet. Check the label for the sodium content, and try and choose a low-salt option.”

The study was released for World Salt Awareness Week, which runs 20-26 March and aims to highlight the importance of reducing salt intake in populations around the world.

Information on the survey can be found here: http://www.georgeinstitute.org.au/media-releases/healthy-breads-contain-more-salt-than-a-packet-of-chips-study-finds