Reducing salt in bread could reduce heart attacks and stroke

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 23rd February 2010

Nutritional health expert Dr Peter Clifton, co-author of the popular CSIRO Wellbeing Diet and head of the Obesity and Preventative Health Flagship at Adelaide University, said today that reducing salt in bread could drastically reduce heart attacks and strokes.

BreadSpeaking to food industry leaders at today’s FoodLegal Symposium in Sydney, Dr Clifton said, “Salt is a major issue with levels for many foods still rising rather than falling.” According to Dr Clifton, reducing salt levels in bread and breakfast cereals by less than 20% could lead to a 23% reduction in the number of stroke cases and a 16% reduction in people suffering a heart attack.

The National Health and Medical Research Centre suggests that adult Australians should consume no more than 1600mg of sodium per day. Food Standards Australia New Zealand reports an average of 475mg of sodium per 100g of bread; two slices, weighing in around 80g, make up a quarter of the recommended daily intake of salt.

Dr Clifton also urged food processors to reduce the amount of oil in potato chips and to reduce fruit sugars and starches in yoghurt. “Even the so-called better polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils need to be reduced because the real problem is the excessive energy in each serving of chips. In relation to yoghurts, the healthiest ones are actually the plain yoghurts without the added sugars, as yoghurts with fruit concentrates disguise the substantial amount of fruit-sugars.”

Dr Clifton plays a lead role at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and has been a high profile clinical and nutritional researcher with the CSIRO for over 20 years. The FoodLegal Symposium was a half-day event held at The Menzies Hotel, sponsored by food industry specialist law firm FoodLegal and international supply chain software company Agentrics.