B. C. Nwanguma and C. H. Okorie
Bread has been identified as a major contributor to the excessive salt (sodium chloride) intake of consumers in many countries, some of which have very high incidences of hypertension and related cardiovascular complications, such as stroke. This has prompted a global rise in interest in the salt content of breads produced and consumed in many other countries.
The sodium contents of retail samples of 100 brands of Nigerian white bread were determined by photometry with a view to estimating the relative contribution of bread to the recommended daily sodium intake of both normotensive and hypertensive adults in the country.
The salt content of the bread samples varied extensively, ranging from 0.51 g per 100 g (0.51%) to 1.8 g per 100 g (1.8%). The average salt content was 1.36 g per 100 g. Based on an estimated consumption of six slices of bread (about 180 g) per meal of bread, this equates to a daily intake of between 0.99 g and 3.33 g of salt from bread alone. This represents between 19.8% and 66.6% of the recommended daily allowance of 5 g for normotensive adults, and between 24.75% and 83.25% of the recommended daily allowance of 4 g for hypertensive adults.
The consumption of some brands of bread by normotensive and hypertensive adults puts them at great risk of exceeding their recommended daily allowance for salt. Thus, there is an urgent need to regulate the amount of salt added to bread. In the interim, compelling bakers to declare the salt content of their products on the packaging could help consumers, especially hypertensive adults, avoid brands with a high salt content.