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

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Apr;57(4):616-20. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601583.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bread / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium, Dietary / analysis
  • Taste


  • Sodium, Dietary