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A one-quarter reduction in the salt content of bread can be made without detection


Objective: To determine if it is possible to deliver a one-quarter reduction in the sodium content of bread without detection.

Design: Single-blind, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: The Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Participants: One-hundred and ten volunteers from the hospital staff that completed 94% of scheduled assessments.

Intervention: Six consecutive weeks of bread with usual sodium content or six consecutive weeks of bread with cumulating 5% reductions in sodium content each week.

Main outcome measure: The proportion of participants reporting a difference in the salt content of the study bread from week to week.

Results: The intervention group were no more likely than the control group to report a difference in the salt content of the bread from week to week (P=0.8). Similarly, there were no differences between randomized groups in the scores for flavour (P=0.08) or liking of the bread (P=0.95) over the study follow-up period. However, the saltiness scores recorded on a visual analogue scale did decline in the intervention group compared with the control group (P=0.01)

Conclusions: A one-quarter reduction in the sodium content of white bread can be delivered over a short time period, while maintaining consumer acceptance. Over the long term, and particularly if achieved for multiple foods, a decrease in sodium content of this magnitude would be expected to reduce population levels of blood pressure and the risks of stroke and heart attack.

Sponsorship: A research grant was obtained from the Northern Sydney Area Health Service and the study bread was provided by George Weston Foods (Tip-Top).

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This project was supported by a grant from the Northern Sydney Area Health Service. N Vincent assisted in the early stages of the project. F Fleming and P Giddings from George Weston Foods (Tip-Top) provided the bread for the study.

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Guarantor: B Neal.

Contributors: BN conceived of the project, initiated protocol development and finalized the manuscript resulting from the study. SG assisted with protocol development, oversaw practical aspects of the study and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. JP and JP contributed to the development of the protocol, interpretation of the findings and provided comment on the manuscript. CT and SD with SG carried out the day-to-day practical work on the study. MW assisted with the design and interpretation of the study, and conducted the statistical analyses. All contributors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to B Neal.

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Girgis, S., Neal, B., Prescott, J. et al. A one-quarter reduction in the salt content of bread can be made without detection. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 616–620 (2003).

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