Dietary modelling to explore the impact of potassium chloride replacement for sodium in bread for adults with chronic kidney disease

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Food manufacturers are increasingly substituting potassium chloride (KCl) in food products so as to reduce the sodium chloride content. Bread and bread products are common staple foods in many Western households and are a target for recipe reformulation using KCl. Given that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a medical condition of global importance that requires dietary potassium restriction in the later stages, we sought to evaluate the impact and safety of varying levels of KCl substitution in bread products. We undertook a secondary analysis of dietary data from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011–2012 for 12,152 participants (154 participants with CKD). The sodium chloride content in bread and bread-based products was substituted with 20%, 30%, and 40% of KCl. The contribution of these alterations in the dietary potassium intake to the total daily potassium intake were then examined. The replacement of sodium in bread with varying amounts of KCl (20%, 30%, and 40%) resulted in one third of people with CKD exceeding the safe limits for dietary potassium consumption (31.8%, 32.6%, and 33%, respectively). KCl substitution in staple foods such as bread and bread products have serious and potentially fatal consequences for people who need to restrict dietary potassium. Improved food labelling is required for consumers to avoid excessive consumption.

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