One slice of shop-bought bread is as salty as a bag of crisps, research says

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A survey found that three in four shop-bought loaves of bread contained as much or more salt per slice than a bag of crisps

A study has found that sliced bread contains as much, or sometimes even more, salt per slice than a bag of crisps. The campaign group Action on Salt looked at 242 loaves of bread from 28 different companies available at 10 of Britain’s biggest supermarkets, and found that two thirds contained more than 0.34g of salt per slice, which is what is found in a bag of crisps.

The loaf with the most salt was Hovis White loaf with Starter Dough, containing 1.48g salt per 100g of bread, three times as much as the least salty, the Waitrose Rye and Wheat Dark Sourdough, with 0.51g of salt. This means that eating a few slices of Hovis bread could fill one fifth of the recommended daily salt intake, and just two slices of the bread would match a McDonald’s hamburger.

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Consuming too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, and Action on Salt wants the government to set out compulsory salt reduction targets. And while most loaves fell below the government’s current 2023 salt target, the organisation said the targets were “far too lenient”.

Graham MacGregor, 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.

"It’s therefore a disgrace that food companies continue to fill our food with so much unnecessary salt, as shown here in bread. For too long the food industry has been in charge of public health, at our expense; it’s time for the government to stop letting people die needlessly."

One slice of white bread contains more salt than a bag of crisps.One slice of white bread contains more salt than a bag of crisps.
One slice of white bread contains more salt than a bag of crisps. | Getty Images

Hovis said in a response to the survey: "Over the last 20 years, Hovis has been actively reducing the levels of salt in its products, with the data provided by Action on Salt confirming this notable reduction over time. The vast majority of our range is fully compliant with current salt targets."

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