Sodium in bread products

Watch the amount of sodium in your bread, it adds up quickly.

The sodium content of food continues to be an important health topic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report of the top 10 sources of sodium in the American diet. It may be surprising to see bread and rolls at the top of the list, until you stop and consider that bread is a common food choice and is often eaten several times throughout the day. A single slice of bread containing 100 to 230 milligrams of sodium may not individually contribute in a significant daily sodium intake, but eating breads of different types at most meals can quickly add up to a sodium level higher than you realize.

Reading the nutrition facts label is the only way to identify the actual amount of sodium per serving in food. Michigan State University Extension encourages individuals to add up the number of milligrams of sodium in all foods you eat. Online resources, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) SuperTracker allows you to track and analyze all of your daily foods, including sodium. However you prefer to track and monitor your sodium intake, it is a heart healthy habit. Reports show on average that American adults consume 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day, which is well above the Dietary Guidelines for Americans daily recommendation of less than 2,300 milligrams – equal to about one teaspoon.

The human body needs a very small amount of sodium to keep nerves, muscles and organs functioning properly. Therefore, it is important to monitor your intake. Continually consuming excess sodium is directly connected with the development of high blood pressure. Sodium in your body attracts water, which affects the volume of blood in your bloodstream. Increased blood volume can impact your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder, contributing to other health risk.

Food packages often have claims on the front of the package. The USDA has provided the following information to understand the various claims.

Salt or Sodium Free

Less than five milligrams of sodium per serving

Very Low Sodium

35 milligrams of sodium or less per serving

Low Sodium

140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving

Reduced Sodium

At least 25 percent less sodium than the original product

Light in Sodium or Lightly Salted

At least 50 percent less sodium than the regular product

No-Salted Added or Unsalted

No salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium-free

The baking industry continues to experiment to reduce the amount of sodium in foods. Sodium is a flavor enhancer and helps to preserve food. Creating reduced sodium bread products is challenging, but the baking industry has continued to reduce sodium enlight of consumer demand for healthier foods. Sodium helps to activate yeast and aids in producing texture and volume, resulting in baked goods that rise properly. Consumers are typically not prone to purchase lower sodium bread if it looks different, or if the cost is increased compared to other bread products.

Bread and rolls are a main staple in many cultures. Being aware that bread, rolls, tortillas and muffins contain sodium and contribute to your total daily consumption of sodium, is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regardless if the bread is made from white flour, enriched flour or whole grains, likely there is sodium in the ingredients list. Be wise about the amount you eat in conjunction with other high sodium foods.

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