Britain's Federation of Bakers will next month be hoping to improve the image of bread, still one of the nation's favourite staple foods but suffering from the growing popularity of the US-imported low-carb diet.
'British Bread Month' running throughout October will aim to encourage consumers to eat 'an extra slice a day' as, penny for penny, bread is the most nutritionally rich food available, claims the bread industry.
Six slices of wholemeal bread would provide around 70 per cent of the RDA of fibre, while six slices of white bread offer more than 30 per cent of the RDA of calcium. Bread is also a significant source of carbohydrates, which current government guidelines suggest should make up around a third of a healthy diet.
Atkin's fans disagree, however. Although there is still a lack of evidence to show that low-carb diets have no detrimental effect to health long-term, studies have shown that it can be effective in weight loss and controlling obesity. A recent survey found that up to 3 million people in the UK have tried the Atkins diet, likely fuelled by the nation's growing obesity figures.
The bread campaign will emphasise sliced bread's wholesome content and versatility, with a designated website aiming to dispel popular myths such as the belief that there is too much salt in bread (salt has been reduced by more than 25 per cent in recent years, according to the federation).
Bread is also a source of iron and B vitamins thiamin and niacin and it is increasingly fortified with other nutrients such as folic acid, shown to protect against spina bifida in babies during the early stages of pregnancy, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The UK bread industry is the second largest in the food sector, worth more than £3 billion. Consumers eat more than 9 million loaves daily.