Atkins Diet Leads to Low Bread Sales

New Media Producer: Brad Maglinger

Pam Wooley has lost 25 pounds in the last seven months and that's about how long she's gone without buying a loaf of bread.

And that's not good for the bread business. The National Bread Leadership Council says Americans are eating 40 percent less bread than a year ago, attributing the decline to the resurgence of the low carb diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins back in the 1960s.

Great Harvest Bread Company owner Mark Stieler says he's seen nowhere near a 40 percent drop in sales, but he has noticed a difference.

"We've had customers come in and say, 'I love bread, but I'm on this diet. Do you have anything with low carbs?' And now, we say yes we do," responds Stieler.

Just a few weeks ago, Great Harvest starting offering bread made of tofu. Next month, they'll start selling low carb bread made with cheese and butter, those fattening things in which low carb dieters are allowed to indulge.

But Stieler points out that not all bread is bad. Great Harvest mills wheat into flour on site, so they can specialize in whole grain products, which the American Heart Association recommends six servings of a day.

As for Robert Atkins, "Atkins is dead," responds Stieler. "He bumped his head. So, forget what he said and buy our bread."

It's become a battle cry of the breadmakers.

Bad news for bread makers is good news for cattle ranchers. Americans are eating beef at a pace not seen since the 1980s, and they're paying record prices.