The National Heart Foundation of Australia has expressed alarm at research that suggests 18-month-old children are eating more than the recommended level of salt, putting them at greater risk of heart disease later in life.
The research from Associate Professor Karen Campbell at Deakin University studied the diets of 300 children when they were nine months old and then again at 18 months. The results, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found more than 50 per cent of children studied exceeded the recommended upper limit of 2.5g of salt.
Emulsifiers, starches, preservatives and softeners are commonly used in many large-scale bread factories to produce soft bread and to save time mixing batches of dough.
Brisbane baker and World Bakery Masters participant Brett Noy is a keen advocate of low-sodium breads and said the research should give bakers a push to reduce salt content across the board.
“It is overwhelming for people when they go to the supermarkets these days because companies have got really good at marketing and it is difficult to know whether a product is actually healthy or not,” he said, acknowledging he used Nu-Tek salt in the World Bakery Masters to reduce sodium content.
“If you ferment bread properly, you can also safely use lower amounts of salt in the formula.”
Leading bread makers agreed in 2010 to a target of 400mg of sodium for 100g of bread, with a 2013 deadline. However, Brett said despite encouraging efforts from fragments of the Australian baking community, many have failed to cut sodium levels.