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J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Apr;13(2):179-83.

Bread as a source of salt: an international comparison.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Leuven, Belgium.



The salt (NaCl) content of bread, obtained from Belgium and 25 other regions or countries worldwide, was analyzed to evaluate the importance of bread as a source of dietary salt in a population.


A total of 1166 dried bread samples were analyzed using a hot HCl extraction technique followed by flame photometry and performed by the same laboratory technician in Leuven (Belgium); 534 samples from Leuven were analyzed over 10 time periods from 1967-73 to 1992 together with 562 samples from 11 other European countries, 44 from the United States and Peru, and 26 from Asia.


The average mean salt content of fresh bread (= dried bread times 0.6) in European countries was 12.4 +/- 1.7 g/kg for white and 13 +/- 1.0 g/kg for brown bread. In Japan and Korea it was about 8.5 g/kg and in Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal, and Laos about 5 g/kg. The mean sodium/potassium ratio with Na and K in mmol was 8.0 for white and 4.5 for brown bread, much higher than the recommended value of 1.0. Bread with a very low salt content was found in certain areas of Peru, Spain, and Italy.


The overall salt content of bread in Western countries is excessive, and a gradual reduction is highly desirable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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