Study claims bread is key to a healthy diet

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

A report promoting the wide-ranging nutritional benefits of bread will help counter views that it's not always a healthy product.

That's the view of Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, who said the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) report would remind people that bread was vital for a balanced diet.

The report, supported by Britain's biggest bakery brand Warburtons, claimed consumers were missing out on protein and a range of important minerals because bread consumption in the UK had fallen to an average of just two to three slices as day. Despite this, bread still accounts for a fifth of all fibre and calcium intake, and provides more than 10% of protein requirements.

"Bread consumption has fallen steadily over the past few decades,"​ said report author Dr Aine O'Connor. "However, eating bread can help consumers meet their daily requirements for many nutrients, including micronutrients such as zinc and calcium, for which there is evidence of low intake in some groups in the UK,"​ she added in An Overview of the Role of Bread in the British Diet, to be published in the September issue of the BNF's journal Nutrition Bulletin.

While it could be difficult to counter dietary "misinformation"​, it was vital the industry continued to reinforce the benefits of bread consumption, said Polson.

"Manufacturers have made some valuable contributions with the development of ranges such as the best of both and 50/50 type products, but we can all do more to promote the benefits of bread,"​ he added.

Polson said it was no secret that bread consumption had fallen, but insisted statistics didn't tell the whole story. "Bread consumption has fallen just about every year since the Second World War, but the bakery market is actually increasing."​ he said. "There have been numerous new and successful ranges of products which have reflected the changes in how and when we eat.

"What is important, though, is that people are reminded that eating bread is vital as part of a balanced diet."

On the back of the report, Warburtons is planning a new marketing campaign later this autumn, featuring a further report on consumers' attitudes to bread and more "myth busting"​ research.

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