NOT SALTY BUT VERY TASTY: THE NEW LOW-SODIUM BREAD OF CREA
Low in sodium, but tasty as traditional bread and tasty up to 90 days: research by CREA (the leading Italian research organization dedicated to the agri-food supply chains) gives life to a new type of low-salt durum wheat bread
Bland bread will no longer be necessary, although in many Italian regions is a deeply rooted tradition. What is it? Of a bread without salt, precisely.
Mainly, salt-free bread is chosen by those suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure. Over the years, however, the WHO and many states have decided to embrace a campaign to decrease salt consumption, to induce a 25% cut in mortality.
The first nation to move in this direction was the United Kingdom, driven by authoritative research by Dr. Graham MacGregor of the Queen Mary University of London. By reducing the consumption of salt in various products (biscuits, cereals, cakes, sauces), in a few years, Dr. MacGregor saved 9,000 people and 1.5 billion pounds of public money.
An excellent result and noted by the WHO, which is trying to decrease the salt in products by at least 30%. After all, the abuse of sodium chloride (this is the scientific name of the salt) can lead to kidney, cardiovascular problems, and the onset of stomach cancer. Besides, salt increases obesity and the physical problems that follow.
In 2013, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian Institute of Health) agreed with the bakers for the drop in the use of salt in bread, a decrease of 15% in four years.
Bread, in fact, is the primary means by which each of us takes salt. Unfortunately, however, there is strong resistance to buying bland bread, and for this reason, Crea has worked to develop a dough that is both tasty and healthy.
The low-sodium bread of Crea
As mentioned, bread is, on an international level, the most consumed food with daily frequency, and the baked product that brings the highest amount of sodium chloride (NaCl), the traditional cooking salt.
It is easy to exceed the daily dose of 5 g with possible negative health consequences by consuming it.
The challenge posed by the project “Use and evaluation of fiber and nutraceutical substances for obtaining healthy bakery products,” funded by the Sicilian Region, is to obtain a bread that is low in sodium but rich in taste.
The team of researchers coordinated by Alfio Spina, researcher of CREA Cerealicoltura e Colture Industriali, in collaboration with CREA Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura, the Universities of Catania and Palermo and the industrial bakery “Cooperativa Agricola Valle del Dittaino” in Assoro (Enna), experimented an innovative technological solution that involves the use of underground sea salt, coming from the Chilean Atacama desert and containing a low percentage of sodium (35% less than traditional salt), 30% of KCl (chloride of potassium) and traces of other salts and minerals that confer flavor.
The result is a durum wheat bread with minimal sodium content, which keeps the chemical-physical, sensorial, and even shelf-life characteristics intact (i.e., the product’s storage capacity, which is currently 90 days) characteristics.
It is, in its own right, a functional, healthy food, effectively “with reduced sodium content” or “with very low sodium content,” as it respects the European specifications provided on the label.
“It is – explains Alfio Spina – an important product innovation in the industrial wheat bakery sector: a sufficiently savory and tasty bread that gratifies the palate of consumers, but with 35% less sodium chloride. A result such as to halve the sodium content in the bread produced with the percentage of salt normally used (1.70%) and to bring back the loaves obtained with the lower percentages of salt (0.35% and 0.15%), among the food products that can have nutritional indications on the label, respectively ‘with reduced sodium content,’ that is less than 0.12%, and ‘with very low sodium content,’ that is less than 0.04% “.
The success achieved in scientific publishing is also excellent: the research, in fact, has also been mentioned in the well-known sector magazine “Foods.”
When will we see it on our table? Difficult to say. This is undoubtedly a significant step forward in research and prevention.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)