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    Sliced Bread

    The series that investigates the latest ad-hyped products and trending fads promising to make us healthier, happier and greener. Are they really 'the best thing since sliced bread'? Science presenter Greg Foot finds out.

    Greg speaks to experts on a bunk-busting mission to test the latest consumer trends chosen by listeners. Do they live up to the hype? Or are they just marketing BS?

    Greg chats to the experts, dives into the data, performs tests and crunches the numbers before putting his findings back to the listener so they can decide if it's worth spending their hard earned money on.

    If you have a suggestion for a product to investigate, you can email the team on sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send a WhatsApp voice note via the number 07543 306807.

    Sliced Bread is produced by BBC Audio North for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    enBBC113 Episodes

    Episodes (114)

    DNA Ancestry Tests

    DNA Ancestry Tests

    Listener Chris from Suffolk recently took a DNA ancestry test, and after getting some interesting results back, he wondered how accurate they really were?

    Greg Foot finds out by taking two tests himself – and has the results and his family tree revealed to him by DNA Genealogist from Finding Families, Louise Baldock.

    He also speaks to Professor of Genetics at Leicester University Mark Jobling to find out what these companies are looking for, what they can or can’t determine from our DNA in terms of where we came from, and asks the question – is sharing our DNA with these companies safe?

    All of the ideas for our investigations come from you, our listeners, and we’re always on the lookout for more. If you have seen a wonder product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener, and want to know if it is SB or BS, then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voice note on WhatsApp to 07543 306807.

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot

    PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth

    Sliced Bread
    enJuly 11, 2024

    Ear Plugs (recorded live at Hay Festival)

    Ear Plugs (recorded live at Hay Festival)

    Are the latest ear plugs better for gigs, focus and sleep?

    In this special edition of Sliced Bread, recorded at the Hay Festival in South Wales, Greg Foot investigates the newer style of ear plugs. He's joined by listener Marni who's seen adverts for brands like Loop, which promise to protect your hearing at higher volumes while still allowing you to enjoy music at gigs. Other models in their range claim to give you better focus, shutting out extraneous noise but still allowing you to hear conversation. Or, in the case of their 'Quiet' model, sleep better.

    As ever Greg's joined by two experts to deep-dive into the science and find out if the evidence backs up the marketing claims. And with the help of a special dummy head fitted with microphones, they carry out a series of tests to hear the difference between traditional foam ear plugs and the newer models.

    If you have seen a wonder product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCERS: Kate Holdsworth and Simon Hoban

    Sliced Bread
    enJuly 04, 2024

    Cholesterol Lowering Products

    Cholesterol Lowering Products

    Can fortified drinks and spreads really reduce cholesterol?

    Almost half of UK adults have raised cholesterol, according to the charity Heart UK - and Sliced Bread listener Cathy is one of them. She found out after taking a test at her GP and wants to do something about it. Her first plan of action is to make changes to her lifestyle, such as diet and exercise. As part of that, Cathy wants to know if the spreads and drinks that claim to lower cholesterol really do work.

    Greg Foot is joined by Cathy and a panel of experts at our studios in Salford to investigate. What are the ingredients that are proven to lower cholesterol? How effective are they compared to widely-prescribed statins - and are the supermarket own brand versions of these drinks and spreads just as good as branded ones?

    All of the ideas for our investigations come from you, our listeners, and we're always on the lookout for more. If you have seen a wonder product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban

    Sliced Bread
    enJune 27, 2024

    Acupressure Mats

    Acupressure Mats

    Twelve year old Bradley got in touch with Sliced Bread after trying out his mum Jennifer’s acupressure mat. Jennifer says she swears by it, it relaxes her, and she even falls asleep on it! But after testing it out himself, he was less than convinced.

    He asked us to find out what these mats are meant to do, whether they work or if they’re a placebo effect, and whether paying more for one could mean better results? Joining Greg in the studio to discuss them, is Clinical Acupuncturist Phil Trubshaw from the Manchester Movement Unit based at Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as the Director of Research at the Northern College of Acupuncture, Dr. Karen Charlesworth.

    Have you seen a product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener? Want to know if it is SB or BS? Then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807.

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot

    PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth

    Sliced Bread
    enJune 20, 2024

    Pest Control

    Pest Control

    What's the best - and most humane - way to get rid of pests?

    For some of us Tom and Jerry might be the sum total of our knowledge of the struggle between domestic life and unwanted rodents. But for listeners Colin and Mary, things are getting much more real! Colin wants to know if the plug-in devices he's seen that promise to deter rats and mice using ultrasonic actually work. Mary has caught mice and then released them back into the wild in nearby woodland, believing it's the more humane way to deal with the problem. But is it?

    With the help of Natalie Bungay from the British Pest Control Association and Rob Young, Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Salford, Greg Foot sets out to find the answers, hoping to nibble at the metaphorical cheese without getting caught in the figurative trap (or something).

    All of the ideas for our investigations come from you, our listeners, and we're always on the lookout for more. If you have seen a wonder product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: SIMON HOBAN

    Sliced Bread
    enJune 13, 2024

    Contact Lenses

    Contact Lenses

    Listener Jennifer is considering switching contact lenses, if there's an alternative that's more eco friendly. She's not alone - we've had lots of questions about eyecare options, and whether the fancy features some lenses offer are worth the extra cash. Joining Greg and Jennifer in the studio to talk all things contact lens are Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, a clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, and Sarah Smith - a research optometrist who's studied the environmental impact of these tiny pieces of plastic.

    Have you seen a product that claims to make you happier, healthier or greener? Want to know if it is SB or BS? Then please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Tom Moseley

    Sliced Bread
    enJune 06, 2024

    Car Tyres

    Car Tyres

    Is it worth paying more for premium car tyres?

    There's a huge range of car tyres to choose from and the price differences between them can be significant. So do you really need to pay more to get a good tyre?

    Listener Ian runs a car maintenance business and wants to know if the budget tyres he's been fitting are the right choice. Will they last as long and be just as safe? What do the different ratings on the labels you can see online mean? And as he moves towards electric cars he's also keen to know whether they need a special sort of tyre.

    With the help of two experts in the field, Greg Foot 'treads' through the studies and the science to find out more. It's how he rolls (we'll stop now).

    As ever we are still looking for your suggestions of products to look into. If you've seen something promising to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: SIMON HOBAN

    Sliced Bread
    enMay 30, 2024

    Sustainable Period Products

    Sustainable Period Products

    Lots of different types of period products claim to be eco friendly, from menstrual cups to period pants and reusable pads. But how do their environmental credentials stack up? That's what listener Sam wants to know - and she's not the only one asking about not just the impact of these so called sustainable period products on planetary health, but also on women's health too. Joining Sam and Greg for this one are Natalie Fee, founder of the non profit City to Sea, who campaigns for "plastic-free periods", and Dr Nicola Tempest, a senior lecturer in gynaecology at Liverpool University.

    And if you've seen something promising to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY

    Sliced Bread
    enMay 23, 2024

    Air Fresheners

    Air Fresheners

    The UK market for air care products is expected to grow to £674 million this year - and for this episode, we're investigating just how these products tackle bad smells in our homes. Can air fresheners really "eliminate" stinky odours with science, or do they just smell nicer? And what does using them do for our air quality? That's what listener Conor from Manchester wants to know. He joins Greg in the studio, alongside two experts - Nicola Carslaw, a professor in indoor air chemistry‘ at the University of York, and emeritus professor of chemo-reception at the University of Manchester, Krishna Persaud.

    Have you seen something promising to make you happier, healthier or greener? Want to know if it's SB or BS? Please let us know - you can email sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807.

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY

    Sliced Bread
    enMay 16, 2024

    LED Face Masks

    LED Face Masks

    Is an LED face mask the secret to brighter, clearer, more youthful skin?

    Greg Foot is back with a new series of Sliced Bread to run a whole new batch of your suggested wonder products through the evidence mill. From car tyres to contact lenses, air fresheners to LED face masks, Greg will separate science fact from marketing fiction as he investigates whether each product is 'the best thing since sliced bread' or 'marketing BS'.

    There's a slightly new sound to this new series: having recorded most of the previous episodes remotely, Greg is going to be joined in the studio by the listener and experts to investigate the wonder products together!

    First to join Greg is Helen Leneghan from County Down. She’s seen LED Face Masks all over social media and wants to know if they actually work. Do they reduce your wrinkles? Will they give you a radiant glow? And can they help with some skin conditions like acne or rosacea?

    As ever, if YOU have seen something promising to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if it is SB or BS please do send it over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop us a message or voicenote on Whatsapp to 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban

    Toast - Safeway UK

    Toast - Safeway UK

    Why did Safeway's UK supermarkets disappear?

    Safeway was once one of our biggest supermarket chains, so why did it drop down the list of top performers before disappearing altogether?

    The BBC Business journalist, Sean Farrington, looks into it and speaks to the former Safeway director, Teresa Whickham, a former Safeway supplier, Judy Garner, and the News Editor, Ronan Hegarty, from The Grocer magazine.

    Alongside them all to analyse Safeway's fortunes is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White.

    This episode was produced by Viant Siddique.

    Toast examines the brands that reached dizzy heights only to end up…toast.

    It is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk

    Feel free to suggest topics which could be covered in future episodes.

    Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the new series, Greg Foot will investigate more of the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.

    Toast - Green Shield Stamps

    Toast - Green Shield Stamps

    Green Shield Stamps could be traded in for 'free' gifts so why did consumers abandon them?

    Sean Farrington examines their rise and fall and discovers how they spawned a famous retail chain which is still trading.

    The stamps were the centrepiece of an early form of loyalty scheme and were collected by tens of millions of people across the UK.

    They were given out by shops with every purchase and could be exchanged for a wide range of household goods and luxury items from handbags to vacuum cleaners and even cars.

    The BBC Business journalist, Sean Farrington, speaks to expert guests including:

    Sir John Timpson - chairman of the retail services provider, Timpson, who dedicated a chapter of his book on 'High Street Heroes' to the Green Shield Stamp founder, Richard Tompkins.

    Professor Leigh Sparks - Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling.

    Alongside them, analysing the stamps' fortunes is the entrepreneur, Sam White.

    Toast is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    This episode was produced by Jon Douglas.

    You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk

    Feel free to suggest topics which could be covered in future episodes.

    Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May.

    In the new series, Greg Foot will investigate more of the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread.

    In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.

    Toast - Mothercare's UK Stores

    Toast - Mothercare's UK Stores

    Why did Mothercare have to close all of their UK stores?

    Sean Farrington discovers what happened to the baby goods retailer which once dominated the high street.

    Alongside him, analysing Mothercare's fortunes, is the entrepreneur, Sam White.

    The pair hear from Tim Curtis who once ran Mothercare's website, catalogue and home delivery service; Amena Khan, a loyal Mothercare customer and Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics.

    They chart the highs and the lows and learn how Mothercare continues to trade today, albeit in a different form.

    Produced by Jon Douglas and Shanaye Mainoo-Magnone. Toast is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk

    Feel free to suggest topics which could be covered in future episodes.

    Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the new series, Greg Foot will investigate more of the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.

    Toast - Vine

    Toast - Vine

    Why was the video sharing platform, Vine, closed down?

    Sean Farrington discovers what happened to the app which pioneered short, shareable videos on social media.

    Sean speaks to one of Vine's founders, Rus Yusupov, the Vine content creator, Eric Dunn, and the BBC's Technology Editor, Zoe Kleinman.

    Alongside them all analysing Vine's fortunes is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White.

    Produced by Viant Siddique. Toast is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk

    Feel free to suggest topics which could be covered in future episodes.

    Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the new series, Greg Foot will investigate more of the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.

    Toast - Little Chef

    Toast - Little Chef

    Why did the restaurant chain, Little Chef, disappear from our roadsides?

    Sean Farrington discovers what happened to the brand which brought us Jubilee Pancakes, Olympic Breakfasts and free lollies for the kids.

    At its peak, Little Chef had over 400 restaurants on most of our major highways and a turnover well in excess of £100m.

    So, how did such a successful business ultimately end up toast?

    Sean speaks to Fiona Alper who was married to the Little Chef co-founder, Sam Alper; the entrepreneur, Lawrence Wosskow, who once owned Little Chef and Becky Parr-Phillips who started as a waitress but rose through the ranks to become Little Chef's head of operations.

    Alongside them all to analyse Little Chef's fortunes is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White.

    Produced by Jon Douglas. Toast is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

    You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk

    Feel free to suggest topics which could be covered in future episodes.

    Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the new series, Greg Foot will investigate more of the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.

    Mushroom Coffee

    Mushroom Coffee

    This one's all about mushrooms - not so much your chestnut, button or portobellos from the supermarket, but more the likes of lion's mane, reishi and chaga. These much-feted fungi are claimed to offer all sorts of benefits, from relaxation to disease-fighting properties. We've had loads of questions about products containing them, particularly around mushroom coffee. Is there any evidence that it's better for you than your regular brew? Listener Leon is fond of it - and wants to know if there's any science to back up his inclination. To get him some answers, we hear from a registered nutritionist and a mycologist (fungi expert) who's just written a book all about medicinal mushrooms. So are they the best thing since Sliced Bread?

    If you’ve seen an ad, trend or wonder product promising to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know how it stacks up, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY

    Dishwashers

    Dishwashers

    Is it better to wash your dishes by hand or use a dishwasher?

    This question from listener Eve has got to be among the most hotly contested debates out there. She wants to know which method uses more water and which is more energy efficient. To find out, we speak to a man who's spent decades studying the differences - Professor Rainer Stamminger from the University of Bonn in Germany.

    Eve also wants to know about the eco settings on dishwashers: how can they save money if they take so much longer? And should you pre-rinse before putting things in?! In short, does the evidence around dishwashers stack up (sorry!) Greg will be finding out.

    PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban

    Tens machines and circulation boosters

    Tens machines and circulation boosters

    Greg's getting electric for this one, as he tries out a tens machine. Tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a type of pain relief which uses a mild electrical current. They're marketed at all types of pain - but do they work? The NHS isn't convinced yet. Listener Patrick is one of many who have asked about these devices, so we got in touch with a a professor who's studied them for 40 years. Also - another type of electrotherapy is a circulation booster. These circular devices claim to be able to help sore legs by activating the muscles. On behalf of listener Rick, Greg finds out what the evidence is for their effectiveness.

    PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY PRESENTER: GREG FOOT

    Milk Alternatives

    Milk Alternatives

    Which is the cream of the crop for your health and the planet?

    The supermarket shelves are fairly bulging with plant-based options for people who either prefer not to drink cow's milk or can't for health reasons like an allergy. Some have been around for a while - like soy, almond and the current best-seller in the UK, oat - but there are newer additions to consider like hazelnut, hemp and a drink made from dried peas.

    Listener Sian wants to know if these milk alternatives are better for her health and the environment than cow's milk. Do they give you the same nutritional benefits? And what's the carbon footprint of each, and how do they compare to the production of cow's milk?

    If you’ve seen an ad, trend or wonder product promising to make you happier, healthier or greener and want to know if there’s any evidence behind it, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807

    Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban

    Fitness trackers

    Fitness trackers

    Millions of us use fitness tracker watches to count how many steps we take each day - they also claim to tell us how we're sleeping and how stressed we are, as well as a host of other metrics. But how accurate are they - and are they the best thing since Sliced Bread? We've had loads of requests from you to look into fitness trackers. So with multiple watches on each arm, Greg's being put through his paces at Loughborough University under the watchful eye of Dr James Sanders, senior research associate in digital health for lifestyle.

    PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY

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