The prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease has swelled in the past few decades and research has shown that salt consumption may have something to do with it. Population-wide action on salt (or sodium) is essential, due to the influence that cutting back has on those with normal and high blood pressure. There is a correlation between hypertension and age, therefore there is great reason to reduce salt consumption early on in life to prevent increasing rates of high blood pressure.
Staple foods such as bread have huge amounts of salt added in their recipes and many consumers are none the wiser. Bread is one of the highest sources of salt in the Australian diet, contributing a quarter of the sodium consumed from processed foods each year.
Common “healthy” choices contain in excess of 500mg of sodium per 100g. Brands include Helga’s Mixed Grain (500mg), WonderWhite Hi Fibre Plus (500mg) and Bakers Delight Hi Fibre Lo GI White loaf (592mg).
According to the National Heart Foundation an average adult should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day. Foods with less than 120 mg per 100 grams are low in salt, while foods with more than 500 mg are high in salt.
Leading bread manufacturers agreed in 2010 to a target of 400mg of sodium per 100g in bread, with a deadline of late 2013.
It is important to acknowledge that bread is not the only available carbohydrate source. You can choose many other carbohydrate rich foods to create variety in your diet, as well as providing many nutrients and extra protein that may not be found in bread.