Could our love of bread be slowly killing us?
Happy French Bread Day! On 21st March each year, bakers and bread fans celebrate the humble baguette – one of the more popular bread varieties in the UK, as well as across Europe, according to recent surveys.
The good news for bread fans is that it remains an important staple of our diet as it’s high in carbohydrates and fibre, yet low in fat, making it a good source of energy. Unfortunately, most manufactured bread from bakeries and supermarkets contains a large amount of ‘secret’ salt – which can be a serious factor in raising blood pressure.
In a recent survey of supermarket baguettes, most contained an average of 5g of salt. NICE (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends the maximum amount of salt people should eat each day is 6g – yet over 75% of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy, which is why it’s been dubbed ‘secret’ salt.)
According to market research conducted by Action on Salt, bread is officially the biggest source of salt in the UK’s diet, contributing up to one quarter of our average intake. Therefore shop-bought bread is one of the main foods being targeted by action groups, such as Blood Pressure UK and Consensus Action on Salt and Health, who are urging supermarkets and other retailers to lower the salt content in their breads. The so-called ‘secret’ salt means people are unknowingly eating far too much salt in their diet, putting themselves at risk of high blood pressure which can lead to strokes, cardio vascular disease and other serious ailments. A government report estimated that buying lower-salt bread alone could save at least 7,000 lives a year in the UK, and it’s such a serious issue that the Food Standards Agency and the European Commission are backing the low salt campaigns.
So if you love bread, but worry about the amount of secret salt it may contain, what can you do? The answer is – make friends with your local baker and ask them to bake you a low-salt (or even no salt) version.
Alternatively why not make your own? Here are a few of our favourite recipes to try:
To find out more, and join the campaign to lower secret salt in our foods, visit BloodPressure UK.org.
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