Wholemeal bread consumption increases with age, according to a new survey by the Medical Research Council, which found that non-smokers, non-manual workers and Southerners also eat more healthy loaves.

Wales has the highest average white bread consumption per week (75g), while the lowest consumption is in London and the South (46g).

Wholemeal bread is eaten by 27% of 19-34 year olds and 42% of 55-64 year olds, while the figure is 43% for non-manual workers and non-smokers compared with 27% of manual workers and 23% of smokers. White bread forms 79% of total bread consumption for young people and 65% for adults.

The survey, commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau, also found that over a seven-day period, men ate bread on 10 occasions, while for women it was eight times, with peak consumption between 12-noon to 2pm; 25% of those aged 55-64 had bread twice a day, compared to 9% of 19-34 year olds.