Manufacturers could reduce the amount of sodium in loaves of bread and people wouldn’t likely even taste a difference.

And even if they did, most would still like the lower-sodium bread.

Researcher’s at Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center in Portland asked nearly 200 people to sample slices of whole wheat sandwich bread made with normal salt levels, as well as slices with 10, 20 and 30 percent less salt.

Photo by Lynn Ketchum

Photo by Lynn Ketchum

The testers couldn’t taste a difference between the regular bread and the bread with 10 percent less sodium, according to the researchers.

The taste testers noticed a difference in the 20 and 30 percent reductions, but they still liked the bread the same as the normal bread (which had 14 grams of salt per slice).

They also said they would be willing to buy a load of any of the four samples, according to the researchers.

“It’s surprising that reducing sodium by nearly a third did not negatively affect how much consumers wanted to buy bread,” said Ann Colonna, who manages the sensory science program at the center, in a news release. “The results suggest consumers would not be able to detect small, incremental cuts to sodium in bread over time.”

“Small reductions are also feasible to manufacturers and wouldn’t require much reformulation to existing recipes,” Colonna said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 90 percent of Americans ages 2 and older eat too much sodium.
Americans, on average, eat about 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams daily. For comparison, one teaspoon of table salt has about 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

Bread is one of the largest contributors of sodium in the American diet, according to the CDC.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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