One slice of bread has more salt than an entire bag of crisps

Sorry to break the news, but that slice of toast you ate this morning contained more salt than a packet of crisps.

Just when you thought your food choices weren’t so horrific, campaigners have warned otherwise.

Compared with a bag of ready salted crisps, one slice of bread is usually saltier, and it is the main source of salt in the average UK diet.

Researchers from Action on Salt, a group based at Queen Mary University of London, assessed 242 sliced breads found in UK supermarkets.

Three quarters of them had as much – or even more – salt in each slice as a 25g packet of ready salted crisps.

The slice with the highest salt content came from the Hovis white loaf with starter dough, which contained 1.48g of salt in every 100g – nearly early three times as much than the lowest, which was Waitrose rye and wheat dark sourdough bread at 0.51g per 100g.

So, if Hovis bread has always been your favourite for the flavour, now you probably have the answer as to why.

Campaigners from the action group want to see mandatory salt-reduction targets introduced by the government – a system that exists already in other countries.

It’s hoped this would lower the public death toll from strokes and heart disease.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University and Action on Salt chairman, said: ‘Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to lower blood pressure and reduce the number of people dying and suffering from strokes and heart disease.’

While the majority breads tested in the research fell below the 2024 maximum salt target of 1.01g per 100g, campaigners call this target ‘far too lenient’.

Reducing the average salt content of bread by 6% would remove 926 tonnes of salt from the UK diet each year – which is on par with 40 packets of Walkers ready salted crisps.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘Foods high in salt can cause high blood pressure which is associated with stroke and heart attacks. This is why we’ve taken action by restricting the placement of foods high in salt, sugar, or fat in large retail settings.

‘Our voluntary salt-reduction programme is delivering results, with the amount of salt in bread reducing by 25 per cent since the early 2000s.

‘But more needs to be done, and we want industry to take responsibility and continue cutting the amount of salt in their products, so levels are as low as possible.’

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