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Bread Sales Fall as Atkins Diet Succeeds

In 1972 the average American ate only 110 pounds of flour a year. By 1997 this was up to almost 150 pounds a year - and obesity levels had skyrocketed. Since 2000, though, as low carb diets began to be proven by medical science to truly help with weight loss, consumers have dropped that back down to 137 pounds a year.

Before the 1900s, flour consumption remained at reasonably low levels. Bread was fresh baked at home and often made from healthy grains. Cookies were a special treat and people rarely ate out. However, by the 1970s, people had a level of affluence rarely dreamed of by our ancestors. People ate out regularly, ate cookies daily, snacked on chips and crackers non-stop. Bread, instead of being full-grained and healthy, was bleached and drained of all nutrients. As people turned flour into their full time diet, their waistlines expanded to match.

The Wheat Food Council told AP reporters that low carb dieting was "just a fad", but many bakers are taking a close look at their products and looking to create much more healthy bread products. Many are finding great success with breads that are low in carb but high in fiber and nutrients - breads that there are great consumer demands for.

Tortilla makers and pasta makers are both addressing this as a serious issue, and working to provide healthy, low carb alternatives of their products.

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