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Consumers Don’t Mind Bread Made with Less Salt

Update Date: Dec 16, 2013 04:34 PM EST
Whole Grains, Bread
An increase in carb intake was linked to a steady increase in a fatty acid that has been tied to a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease. (Photo : Wiki Commons)

The labels, "low-fat," "less sugar" and "reduced salt," plastered on food products might prevent people from buying them. For some picky eaters, food products that are made healthier can also be less tasty. Fortunately for bread lovers, a new study found that the majority of consumers cannot tell the difference between regular bread and bread that was made with 10 percent less salt. This finding could encourage food-manufacturing companies to produce bread with less salt, which would also be relatively healthier for people.

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For this study, the researchers from Oregon State University's Food Innovation Center located in Portland recruited around 200 people to be taste testers. The participants were given four samples of whole-wheat sandwich bread. The slices were made with normal amounts of salt, 10 percent less salt, 20 percent less salt and 30 percent less salt. The researchers found that the consumers could tell the difference between bread made with normal levels of salt and bread slices made with 20 percent or 30 percent less salt.

The tasters stated that they did not mind the appearance, texture, smell and taste of the lower-sodium bread options. When it came to the 10 percent less salt bread sample, the participants could not taste the difference at all. Overall, the participants stated that they would not mind buying any of the four samples of bread.

"It's surprising that reducing sodium by nearly a third did not negatively affect how much consumers wanted to buy bread. The results suggest consumers would not be able to detect small, incremental cuts to sodium in bread over time," said Ann Colonna, who manages the sensory science program at the center according to Medical Xpress. "Small reductions are also feasible to manufacturers...and wouldn't require much reformulation to existing recipes."

Salt is often used to increase the flavor of food products. Based on this study's findings, food-manufacturing companies could potentially make their breads healthier by reducing the salt content without having to worry about losing customers. The study was funded by a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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