Alarming levels of salt found in 'healthy' breads, say researchers

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We constantly monitor the recipes of all our products for nutritional, fat, sugar and of course salt content to ensure we can deliver healthy, nutritious products full of flavour. The company Mission had the highest and the lowest salt content for their flatbreads with their Chapattis Garlic flatbread topping the list with 2.3g of salt which was 23 times their White Corn Tortillas.

Artisan baker Bowan Island's Wholemeal Sourdough also registered a high salt content (1.6g salt/100g), nearly three time saltier than the lowest-salt option - Bill's Certified Organic 100% Wholemeal Sourdough (0.6g salt/100g). One example it gave was Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Nuts & Caramel Bites (1.13g of salt per 100g), which it claimed, had 97% more salt than similar cereal Jordans Country Crisp with Sun-Ripe Strawberries (0.03g of salt per 100g).

Ms Farrand concluded, "What Australia needs though is a consistent drop in salt levels across all processed foods, not just in in some breads".

Bowan Island's Wholemeal Sourdough was also highlighted for its salt content, which at 1.6g of salt per 100g, was almost three times saltier than the best option, Bill's Certified Organic 100 per cent Wholemeal Sourdough.

Health experts are concerned about the hidden levels of salt in bread.

A new survey from Cash found that, out of 28 food categories analysed, only bread rolls has so far met the 2017 maximum, but not the average, salt target and are alarmed by the lack of action so far by manufacturers and Public Health England.

Consumers should check food labels to check the salt content of bread.

The research was released to mark the 10th World Salt Awareness Week.

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"The findings from our FoodSwitch shopping basket survey are alarming and we are shocked to see that many food manufacturers and retailers are still failing to meet the salt reduction targets, despite having had years to work towards them".

"We know that excess salt in our diet increases blood pressure and the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, so our findings are incredibly worrying - especially as numerous products that have the highest levels of salt are perceived by families as being the healthiest".

And food producers, they say, are not meeting voluntary reduction targets because it would drive down their profits.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus on Salt and Health (CASH), said: "The easiest way to make bland, cheap food more palatable is to add salt - and salt is practically free".

The target for bread was set at 400mg of sodium (1g of salt) per 100g.

"In addition to salt, United Kingdom food and drink producers continue to look for and develop opportunities to reduce calories, sugars and fats, while boosting fibre and micronutrients to contribute to an overall holistic approach to public health". Salt levels in breads and bread rolls had dropped by some 10% in seven years. "Our advice is to look for high-fibre breads that are also low in salt".

Furthermore, sea salt's reputation as being healthier is not strictly accurate.

Bruce Neal, The George Institute for Global Health and inventor of FoodSwitch says: "FoodSwitch is all about putting power back into the hands of the community".