Bread as a source of salt: an international comparison

J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Apr;13(2):179-83. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1994.10718392.


Objective: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

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

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Belgium
  • Bread / analysis*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Peru
  • Sodium Chloride / analysis*
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Spain
  • United States


  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Sodium Chloride