Bread – not salty snacks or other foods – is the top source of dietary sodium in many countries around the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom, according to a recent global analysis. This comprehensive study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the World Action on Salt and Health, based at Queen Mary University of London, examined the sodium content of 2,000 types of bread sold in 32 countries.
The researchers found that more than one-third of the breads in the U.K. exceeded the maximum salt target for bread: 1.13g of salt per 100g, or half a teaspoon of salt for about two slices of bread. Pepperidge Farm’s Hearty Sliced white bread, which contained 1.4g salt per 100g or two slices, was among the saltiest breads in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 out of 10 U.S. children and adults exceed daily limits for sodium consumption.
Some of the breads tested were “saltier than seawater,” the researchers say. Golden Crust’s toaster bread, sold in South Africa, had the most salt per serving among all white breads surveyed – 2.46g per 250g portion – more sodium than four servings of fast food French fries. Sodium is added to packaged breads because it boosts flavor and acts as a preservative. Overall, flatbreads and whole-wheat breads contained the most sodium, while mixed-grain breads contained the least.
Here is the complete list of breads and their sodium content.