Bread is the top contributor of dietary sodium in the US and many other countries around the world. This is based new analysis from the World Action on Salt and Health, based at Queen Mary University of London.
Researchers analyzed the salt content in 2,000 breads sold in 32 countries and regions. More than a third of the loaves exceeded the maximum salt target for bread set out by the UK.
In the US, about nine in 10 kids and adults in the US exceed the daily limits for sodium consumption.
In the UK, the government classifies industrial bread as a food high in salt. That’s because too much salt is added as both a preservative and flavour enhancer in bread.
A large amount of salt is needed so that it acts as a flavour enhancer, improving the otherwise bland taste of industrial bread.
In the US, it is common for commercially packaged bread to have 100-300 mg sodium per slice.
In Malaysia, just 2 slices of a so-called healthy-version bread, pack 177 mg sodium.
Sodium is one of the minerals that is essential for controlling the fluid balance in our bodies. Water is drawn in and out of our cells to balance the amount of sodium in our blood.
However, most people consume enough salt each day to provide more than 10 times the amount of sodium they need.
Too much sodium can result in high blood pressure and put a strain on the heart. Eating 3 times more sodium than the American 2,400 mg maximum recommended daily intake can lead to kidney failure and to heart attacks and stroke, even for those who are not sodium sensitive.