Sliced Bread

Sliced Bread

By BBC Radio 4

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.

Episodes

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
16/05/2426m 59s

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 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
09/05/2429m 18s

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 Wickham, 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.ukFeel 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.
02/05/2424m 47s

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.ukFeel 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.
25/04/2425m 19s

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.ukFeel 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.
18/04/2425m 15s

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.ukFeel 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.
11/04/2424m 55s

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.ukFeel 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.
04/04/2424m 48s

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 306807PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY
28/03/2429m 43s

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
21/03/2430m 45s

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
14/03/2432m 13s

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 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
07/03/2432m 37s

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
29/02/2427m 27s

Pots and Pans

What cookware is best for your kitchen?There is a bewildering array of pots and pans on offer: stainless steel saucepans, cast iron skillets, even 10-in-1 cookware systems that use layers of various materials. But do they deliver on their promises to help you reach culinary bliss? Listener Emily wants to know if the ones she's seen live up to the hype or are just marketing BS. What do all the materials do? What about cleaning them? And just what is the much-vaunted 'hot spot' that lights up at a certain temperature?!There are also lingering concerns about non-stick coatings. Are they safe? And what about the alternatives if you're not sure?Please do keep your suggestions coming of wonder products for me to investigate. 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 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
22/02/2429m 15s

Dog dental chews

Gum disease is extremely common in dogs - with some breeds particularly badly affected. So it's no surprise there are all sorts of products on the market offering to clean your pet's teeth - which might be particularly appealing if you don't fancy grabbing a toothbrush and doing the job yourself. As well as chews of many shapes and sizes, there are additives to water - and even seaweed extract to sprinkle on their food. It's a serious business. We've had loads of emails asking us to look into this one - including from listener Sarah, who wants help on behalf of Heidi, her Miniature Schnauzer. To get them some answers, Greg hears from a pet nutritionist and a vet who's an expert in dental care. Are dog dental chews the best thing since sliced bread?PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY
15/02/2429m 52s

Face Creams

Are more expensive face creams worth it?I'm back with a new series of Sliced Bread to investigate more of your suggested wonder products and I'm starting with one of the most-requested so far. Do more expensive moisturisers, serums and oils live up to the hype? Can they result in smoother, brighter, firmer, healthier skin or is it all just marketing BS? Listener Aristide wants to know whether one of the most expensive products on the market - 'Creme de la Mer' (£80 for 15ml) - has any more evidence to back it up than the cheap moisturiser he uses from the High Street. And listener Fiona is keen to hear about the effectiveness of retinol, one of the most popular ingredients used in creams and serums today.In this episode I'll get the answers with the help of our expert, consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth.Once again this series I'm looking for more of your suggestions for wonder products to investigate. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad rproduct promsing 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 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
08/02/2432m 45s

Sliced Bread is back!

Greg Foot returns to investigate a whole new batch of so-called wonder products suggested by you, the listeners.Sliced Bread is back for a new series from Thursday 8 February, 2023 on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, with new episodes available weekly on Thursdays on BBC Sounds and wherever you get your podcasts.
05/02/242m 25s

Toast - Jamie's Italian

What went wrong at Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant chain, Jamie's Italian?While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers.In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today?In this episode, Sean and the serial entrepreneur, Sam White, examine the fortunes of Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain. It was a big hit when it launched so why couldn't it maintain that success? Expert commentators - and Jamie Oliver himself - reflect on what made his restaurants so special and what led to their demise.Tracey MacLeod, formerly of The Independent, was one of the first restaurant critics through the door; Emma Lake, Assistant Editor at The Caterer magazine wrote extensively about Jamie's Italian; Peter Harden, the co-founder of Harden's Restaurant Guide, has trawled through reviews of Jamie's Italian to see what changed from the customers' perspective.Jamie Oliver's perspective comes through an interview he did with Kirsty Young for the Radio 4 series 'Young Again'.If you have an idea for a topic with a toast moment then you can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.ukSliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in February. 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 is produced by Jon Douglas and Viant Siddique and is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
11/01/2424m 48s

Toast - Commodore Computers

Why did the best-selling computer manufacturer, Commodore, go bust?While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers.In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today?In this episode, Sean examines the remarkable story behind the man who founded one of the world's best-selling computer manufacturers. Commodore computers were huge in the 1980s so why couldn't the business adapt to survive in an age when computing became even more popular? Expert commentators and employees reflect on why the company was so successful and what led to its demise. Guests include David Pleasance - a former Commodore international executive and later joint managing director of its UK arm; Tim Danton - editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine; Dan Wood - a Commodore computers enthusiast.Alongside them is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, to analyse the missteps that changed the brand’s fortunes.If you have an idea for a topic with a toast moment then you can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.ukSliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in February. 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 is produced by Jon Douglas and Viant Siddique and is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
11/01/2424m 49s

Toast - Club 18-30

Why did the package holiday brand, Club 18-30, disappear?While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers.In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today?In this episode, Sean learns why Club 18-30 fell out of favour. Its package holidays for young people were a hit for decades so why couldn't it keep going? Sean speaks to holidaymakers who remember their Club 18-30 experiences well. A former manager explains how they hoped to keep the brand going and why that proved impossible.Alongside them all, analysing the business' fortunes is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White. You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.ukFeel free to suggest topics which we could cover in future episodesSliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in February. 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 is produced by Jon Douglas and Viant Siddique and is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
11/01/2425m 6s

Toast - Sunny Delight

Why did sales of the best-selling soft drink, Sunny Delight, suddenly bomb in the 1990s?While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers.In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today?In this episode, Sean learns why sales of Sunny Delight faltered in the UK after an extraordinarily successful launch. Sean speaks to some of the people who worked on the brand, hearing how it became a hit before a series of unfortunate coincidences undermined its popularity. The self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, is alongside him, analysing the missteps that changed Sunny Delight's fortunes.'Sunny D', as it is known today, is still sold in some UK supermarkets. It has different owners and ingredients but it has never matched the incredible sales figures which it achieved in its early days. You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.ukFeel free to suggest topics which we could cover in future episodesSliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in February. 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 is produced by Jon Douglas and Viant Siddique and is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
11/01/2425m 3s

Toast - Toys R Us

Why did Toys R Us have to close all of its UK superstores in 2018? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this Christmas special, Sean examines the charming story behind one of our best-known toy brands before hearing how it faltered. Expert commentators and employees reflect on why the business had been so successful and what went wrong. Alongside them is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, to analyse the missteps that changed the brand’s fortunes. Together, they hear how Toys R Us is making a comeback in the UK. You can email the programme at toast@bbc.co.uk Feel free to suggest topics which we could cover in future episodes. From big tech to high street retail and, of course, food, Toast tackles the business ideas that, one way or another, ended up cooked.Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in February. 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 is produced by Jon Douglas and Viant Siddique and is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
18/12/2325m 26s

Toast is back!

Sean Farrington returns with the Radio 4 series that examines the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much.Toast is back with a special Christmas episode looking at the rise and fall of toy superstore Toys R Us on 18 December, 2023, and then returns for a new series on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on 11 January, 2024.
15/12/231m 16s

Bedding

Can changing your sheets be good for you - and the environment? We've had loads of requests to look at the best way to make your bed - specifically, how all the different options for sheets and pillowcases compare. Cotton seems to be king when it comes to popularity, but is it justified? Listener Rosemary is a linen fan, but wants to know whether eucalyptus bedding lives up to the hype. How do its eco credentials stack up - and what does it feel like? Speaking of feel - silk pillow cases have a reputation for luxury, but listener Cathy wants to know whether sleeping on one will - as the marketing promises - also help your skin and your hair. Could it really help with acne? We'll hear from a dermatologist and a fabrics expert - and there are some surprising answers to this one!If you've seen a claim you'd like investigating, you can email the team on sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send us a WhatsApp voice note on 07543 306807.PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: TOM MOSELEY
07/12/2330m 15s

Christmas Trees

Which Christmas tree is better for the environment - real or fake?Everyone loves the smell of a freshly cut pine or spruce but the vast majority of them go to landfill. So would a plastic tree be better?Listener Eleanor wants to have a more sustainable Christmas and has some great questions. Is there a better way to dispose of your real tree? How about a pot-grown tree you could use again the next year? And she's even heard about the possibility of renting a Christmas tree - the same one, year after year! Is that a thing?In this frankly festive episode I attempt to get to the root of the problem (sorry!) by speaking to an ecological expert and a journalist who's attempted to rent the whole of Christmas.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
30/11/2329m 47s

Sports Bras

Are expensive sports bras worth the money?Buying a sports bra can be a baffling experience, not least because of the marketing terminology which is full of buzz-phrases like 'high intensity support', 'specialist materials' and 'racer backs'. Listener Teresa has seen sports bras ranging in price from just a few pounds to three figures and wants to know if paying more means you get greater support.Greg speaks to Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, 'The Bra Professor', to take a deep dive into the science and find out more. Can one sports bra suit all sports, like running and yoga? Does the support reduce over time? And when should you wash or replace your sports bra?If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Emma Salkeld
27/11/2336m 7s

Vacuum cleaners

Trying to buy a new vacuum cleaner can be a pretty confusing experience. Do you go bagged or bagless? Corded or cordless? Is it worth paying extra for something with anti hair wrap tech? Or forking out for a robot to do it all for you? That's what listener Sally is tempted by - she wants to know if a robot will clean as well as a regular handheld version. Listener Rachel wants advice on which features are worth the extra cash. To help them navigate this complicated market, Greg consults Grace Forell, a consumer expert from Which? and host of its Get Answers podcast - and finds out all about dust with professor Hasan Arshad, who leads allergy research at the University of Southampton.If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Tom Moseley
23/11/2336m 19s

Ice Baths

Do the claims made about Ice Baths hold water?Social media appears to be filled with countless people sitting blissfully in small inflatable ‘ice baths’. Fans of such ‘cold water therapy’ claim that taking a chilly plunge will boost your energy levels, reduce your stress, help you sleep better, and supercharge your recovery after a workout. Listener Laura wants to know if the science backs that up. In this episode, I dip my toe - and the rest of me - into an ice bath to find out. I'm guided by Professor Mike Tipton at the University of Portsmouth, one of the leading academics in the study of cold water and its effects on the body.If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
09/11/2333m 11s

Eco-friendly toilet paper

How green can your loo roll be? Lots of companies have sprung up offering what they say are the most eco-friendly ways to wipe - and there's a lot to think about. Listener Barbara buys recycled toilet paper - and wants to know if she's better off buying one of the bamboo options on the market. Jo already buys bamboo but is curious about the difference packaging and delivery options make.To get them some answers, Greg Foot speaks to Shanta Bhavnani from Ethical Consumer magazine, who carried out its 2023 ethical toilet paper guide, and materials expert Dr Eral Bele of University College London, who's studied the properties of bamboo.If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Tom Moseley
02/11/2327m 45s

Smart Thermostats

Can Smart Thermostats save you money on energy bills?Temperatures are falling and conversations are already turning to whether or not the heating has been turned on! Although energy prices have come down a little since last year, the withdrawal of universal Government support to alleviate the cost could mean bills stay high for a lot of people. Listener Wendy is already doing a lot to save money (having listened to a previous Sliced Bread episode on Portable Heaters - check it out on BBC Sounds!) but she's keen to know if the addition of a Smart Thermostat might make even more of a difference. Are they as clever as they claim to be when it comes to controlling the heating in your home?If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
26/10/2328m 19s

Motion Sickness Remedies

Greg Foot gets queasy in the name of science as he investigates the range of products promising to help with motion sickness.Do the pills, wristbands or breathing techniques which claim to stop you from feeling sick on planes, trains and automobiles actually work?To find out, Greg heads to Professor John Golding's laboratory at the University of Westminster where a spinning chair is used to induce symptoms of motion sickness. Why don't scientifically-proven treatments always work for everyone? If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807Sliced Bread is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds. PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Jon Douglas
19/10/2327m 16s

Weighted Blankets

Do weighted blankets reduce stress and help you sleep better?They’ve gone from a middle-aisle fad to being a regular fixture in supermarkets and online stores. Weighted blankets can cost upto £200 and promise to give you a deeper, more restful sleep. But do they? Listener Theresa wanted to know about the science behind them. What is it about the ‘deep touch’ or ‘deep pressure’ stimulation that the manufacturers claim helps us to sleep? They’re also often marketed as offering help with anxiety and autism. Listener Claire runs a support group for children with autism and is keen to know more, so I speak to the lead scientist of a big study into that. And listener Pauline wonders whether there are any health risks associated with weighted blankets?Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
12/10/2327m 29s

Induction Hobs

Induction hobs are not just a fashionable addition to a new kitchen, but are also sold as a more efficient choice than a gas hob. How do they compare? Is cooking on an electric induction hob better for the planet? And what about our health? Listener Roisin wants to know if they are an economical choice but worries they might affect her mum's pacemaker, while listener Anna is concerned about indoor air pollution from gas cookers and wonders if induction hobs are a safer bet. Greg Foot gets them some answers with expert help from Emily Seymour, the Energy Editor at Which? and Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, then email us: sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Jon Douglas
05/10/2324m 59s

Vapes

Is vaping harmful to your health and to the environment?I'm back with a new series of Sliced Bread and I'm kicking off with a topic many of you have suggested - vapes. They've become controversial largely because of the rise in single-use, or disposable, vapes. Nearly eight million are sold in the UK each week, a figure that's doubled in the past year. And according to the organisation Material Focus, which campaigns to increase recyling rates, five million of those are thrown away. Listener John has spotted them lying around on the pavement and is worried about their effect on the environment.I'm joined by Scott Butler from Material Focus who takes apart a disposable vape and shows me just what's inside and explains why they're harmful to the planet and what can be done to improve recycling.I'm also investigating the reason vapes were introduced in the first place over a decade ago - as a smoking cessation aid. Listener Sam wants to know if they really do help you stop smoking or whether the convenience of disposable vapes means they just prolong or even worsen the addiction? I speak to Professor Anne McNeill, co-author of a landmark review into the health impact of vapes and their effectiveness when it comes to helping people stop smoking compared to previous treatments like nicotine patches or gum. Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
02/10/2333m 0s

Sliced Bread is back!

Greg Foot returns to investigate a whole new batch of so-called wonder products suggested by you, the listeners.Sliced Bread is back for a new series from Thursday 28 September, 2023 on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, with new episodes available weekly on Thursdays on BBC Sounds and wherever you get your podcasts.
21/09/232m 3s

Mosquito Repellents

If you are heading somewhere tropical this summer, or just want to protect yourself from bites in your own back garden, then which mosquito repellents can you trust?Greg Foot gets up close and personal with a box full of hungry mosquitoes to find out.Is it all about DEET or are there alternatives which are just as effective? What about citronella? And how well do bracelets, patches and candles perform? And if you do get bitten, what is the best treatment for a mosquito bite?Greg assesses the scientific evidence with Professor James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr Jane Wilcock, an indepedent researcher and GP. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Jon Douglas
13/07/2327m 38s

Barefoot Shoes

This is one of your most-requested topics and as a keen runner myself I couldn’t wait to get into it. Barefoot shoes claim to encourage you to run in a more ‘natural’ way, landing on your mid or forefoot rather than on your heel. Some brands say they’ll increase your speed and reduce the likelihood of injury. But will they? Listener Sam runs marathons and wants to know if the science backs up the marketing hype. He also wonders whether the wider toebox in barefoot shoes really does allow for our toes to be separated out in a more natural way.It’s not just runners who got in touch either; Jon is a dog walker and is interested in wearing barefoot shoes on a more casual basis. Is there any benefit to that? And what about children? Listener Zoe already wears barefoot shoes herself but wants to know if they might be good for her son, too. In this episode I speak to experts to weigh up the evidence. Are barefoot shoes the best thing since sliced bread? Or just marketing BS?PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
06/07/2332m 5s

Dog Poo Bags

Owners clearing up after the UK's 11 million estimated pet dogs have a bewildering array of bags from which to choose. Some are labelled 'degradable', others are called 'biodegradable', 'compostable and biodegradable' or 'recycled.' So which ones are best for the environment? And what is the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of our dogs' doo?Greg Foot is on the case on behalf of listeners including Nicola Jones and Craig Hart who are perplexed by the claims being made on dog poo bags. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad relating to another consumer product and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Jon Douglas
29/06/2328m 14s

Cycle Helmets

Which cycle helmets give you the best protection?I’m a big fan of cycling and so when listener Migue got in touch wanting to know what cycle helmet he should buy next, I was really keen to investigate.Migue wanted to know what factors make a cycle helmet the most effective when it comes to protecting your head: the shape, the material, the fit? He’s seen all sorts of neat tech, including collapsible helmets and ones that fit around your neck and act like airbags! To find out more I speak to an expert at one of the world’s leading helmet testing labs in Virginia, USA.And in researching this episode I also discovered there is a hotly-contested debate about whether cycle helmets should be the focus at all when it comes to safety. Some - including the organisation Cycling UK and the charity Sustrans - argue that introducing tougher rules around helmets would mean far more lives lost through physical inactivity than would be saved in protecting from collisions, which are rare. That’s a view shared by Dr Ian Walker from Swansea University, who also features in this episode.Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg FootPRODUCER: Simon Hoban “
22/06/2330m 45s

UV Sterilisers

During the pandemic, as people sought to protect themselves from Corona Virus, more and more products entered the market claiming to use Ultra Violet light to clean your belongings. These vary from UV wands and lamps, to phone boxes and UV baby bottle sterilisers. You may have seen them advertised online, claiming to kill 99% of viruses and bacteria. But do they deliver, and are they worth it, compared to more traditional methods of cleaning like alcohol wipes, or soap and water... That's what listeners Chris and Ben wanted to know.I'll be finding out by speaking to an expert in radiation safety Professor John O'Hagan at Loughborough University and Matt Knight, Product Testing Expert at the consumer group Which?Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg FootPRODUCER: Jay Unger
15/06/2328m 19s

Outdoor Clothing

If you’ve ever made the mistake of going for a hike wearing just jeans and a t-shirt you’ll know it can be a pretty sweaty, uncomfortable experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are myriad products promising to keep you dry, warm and protected from whatever the weather can throw at you. Listener Julie is keen to know more about that after she went on an adventure holiday without the right kit, leaving her cold and miserable.She’s heard about fabrics that promise to ‘wick away’ the sweat and others that keep you warm in cold weather and cool when it’s hot. And what about the jackets that claim to stop rain getting in yet still be breathable enough to let vapour and sweat out. How does that work?!I’ll be finding out by speaking to an expert in textile technology and the Gear Editor from the UK’s best-selling walking magazine.Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
08/06/2329m 5s

Reusable Nappies

According to recycling charity Wrap, an estimated three billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK. Concerns over plastic waste and a want to save money have been driving a rise in the popularity of reusable nappies but, as listener Amy asks, are they really better for the planet, and your pocket? Me and the team speak to Wendy Richards, also known as The Nappy Lady. She runs one of the biggest nappy advice and sales websites specialising in reusables. Crunching the numbers with her we look at the complete financial costs of both reusable and disposable nappies, even taking into consideration the extra washing costs needed to clean reusables. But what about the environmental impacts of reusable nappies. Are they really better than disposables when you factor in the energy and water used to clean them? That's what we ask Professor Rob Holdway from Brunel University and Giraffe Innovation. Giraffe Innovation recently completed a thorough study - commissioned by DEFRA, the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - looking at exactly this.Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.
01/06/2328m 55s

Hay Fever Treatments

What works to help with the symptoms of hay fever?The better weather’s here but for the millions who have hay fever that just means a runny nose and itchy, streaming eyes. And for some people it’s seriously debilitating – listener Richard got in touch because his wife can’t go out and play with the kids in the spring and summer months. In this episode I’m investigating the treatments that claim to help. I speak to an expert from Allergy UK to find out what works and whether - as listener Lisa wonders - the generic or own-brand versions work as well as the more expensive branded ones. And could a hay fever injection be the one-shot solution Richard’s wife is looking for?Also, you might have heard about the gut microbiome…but did you know there’s a nasal microbiome too?! I’m finding out about some new research which shows probiotics could play a role in treating hay fever.This series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so if you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
25/05/2333m 31s

Low and No Alcohol Beer

Sales of alcohol-free beer in the UK have more than tripled in the past five years, and you'll find more types of no and low-alcohol beer on sale in your local supermarket. But what does 'alcohol-free' really mean? And are these drinks always better for your health? Various listeners got in touch with us about this one, so we enlisted the help of two experts to answer their questions. Laura Willoughby knows a lot about no/low alcohol beer as co-founder of Club Soda which says it exists "to help people drink more mindfully and live well”. Kerry Torrens is a registered nutritionist who has been working in the food and drink sector for two decades. Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products, so f you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Jon Douglas
18/05/2325m 45s

Snoring Products

Research suggests four in 10 of us do it and it can even get so bad it’s been blamed for the breakdown of relationships. Snoring can be a living nightmare for you and your partner. But what if there was something that works to give you – and the people around you – a more peaceful night’s sleep?Listener Neville got in touch with a recording taken by his wife of him snoring – and it’s pretty loud! He’s seen various solutions from throat sprays to nasal strips and even a chinstrap which literally keeps your mouth shut while you sleep. But do any of them actually work? Are they the best thing since Sliced Bread – or marketing BS?I speak to experts to find out including an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon and a scientist who’s looked into the extreme end of snoring. Once again this series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
11/05/2326m 17s

Toast - Sinclair C5

While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers.You can contact us at toast@bbc.co.ukIn each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea which ended up toast, examining the reasons behind the failure and discovering what can we learn from its story today.Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition, speaking to expert commentators to discover how they view things now and what, if anything, could have been done differently.Sean is assisted by the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, as together they try to work out what went wrong.This week, Sean and Sam look into the Sinclair C5 - an electric vehicle from the 1980s which promised to revolutionize personal transport. They get a first-hand account of what happened from the former Managing Director of Sinclair Vehicles Ltd, Barrie Wills, and hear how the Isle of Cumbrae became a hotbed for the Sinclair C5....until the little vehicles started breaking down all over the island. They also speak to Grant Sinclair - nephew of the C5's inventor, Sir Clive Sinclair - and hear how he has devised a new and very different take on the C5 which he plans to launch soon. Presenter: Sean Farrington Producer: Jon DouglasToast is a spin-off from Sliced Bread, the series in which Greg Foot investigates the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread.Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.
04/05/2325m 14s

Toast - Friends Reunited

While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers.You can contact us at toast@bbc.co.uk In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea which ended up toast, examining the reasons behind the failure and discovering what can we learn from its story today.Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition, speaking to expert commentators to discover how they view things now and what, if anything, could have been done differently.Sean is assisted by the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, as together they try to work out what went wrong.This week, Sean and Sam look into a hugely successful website from a time when most people in the UK were slowly getting used to the internet. Friends Reunited provided a unique way for users to reconnect with old school friends.It made a fortune for its founders but was closed for good in 2016. Could it still have been successful today? Toast is a spin-off from Sliced Bread, the series in which Greg Foot investigates the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread.Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.Toast is a BBC Audio North production for BBC Radio 4.The producers are Jay Unger and Jon Douglas.
27/04/2325m 27s

Toast - Blockbuster

While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers.In each episode the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did people back it? Why did they get burnt?Some of the world’s most successful businesses have also brought us some of the world’s most remarkable failures. So, what led them to be toast? And what can we learn from their stories today?Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition. He speaks to expert commentators and to people involved with doomed wonder products to discover how they view things now and what, if anything, could have been done differently.Along the way he discovers charming and surprising stories from people who took to these products but lived to regret it and, with the help of self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur Sam White, tries to work out where they went wrong.This week, Sean and Sam examine the game and movie rental chain, Blockbuster. Its first store opened in 1985 in Dallas, Texas. At its peak in 2004, it had around 9,000 stores globally, was earning nearly $5.9 billion in revenue and employed over 84,000 people worldwide.How did it lose its way? Spoiler alert - it wasn't just down to the rise of streaming services like Netflix. Toast is a spin-off from Sliced Bread, the series in which Greg Foot investigates the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread.Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.Toast is a BBC Audio North production for BBC Radio 4.
20/04/2325m 24s

Toast - Olestra

While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did people back it? Why did they get burnt? Some of the world’s most successful businesses have also brought us some of the world’s most remarkable failures. So, what led them to be toast? And what can we learn from their stories today? Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition. He speaks to expert commentators and to people involved with doomed wonder products to discover how they view things now and what, if anything, could have been done differently. Along the way he discovers charming and surprising stories from people who took to these products but lived to regret it and, with the help of self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur Sam White, tries to work out where they went wrong. This week, Sean and Sam look into a fat substitute called Olestra which promised to make savoury snacks healthier. With none of the fat and far fewer calories, Olestra sounded like a dieter's dream..... but it didn't turn out that way. Toast is a spin-off from Sliced Bread, the series in which Greg Foot investigates the latest so-called wonder products to find out whether they really are the best thing since sliced bread. Sliced Bread returns for a new batch of investigations in May. In the meantime, Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds. Toast is a BBC Audio North production for BBC Radio 4.
13/04/2324m 52s

Toast - Google Glass

From the team behind the hit series, Sliced Bread. Sean Farrington investigates wonder products and businesses which promised so much to consumers.... but ultimately ended up toast. Sean is joined by the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White, to conclude what went wrong. Together they look at why a product or business failed, and what we can learn from their stories today. In this episode, Sean talks about wearable tech and Google Glass. These futuristic looking spectacles, with a heads-up display which showed text messages and street directions and allowed users to record video footage of what was happening around them, were named in Time Magazine as one of the best inventions of 2012. There was plenty of hype. Google even demonstrated them by live-streaming a sky dive using Google Glass.But by 2015, just two years after their release, Google announced that Google Glass Explorer, the consumer version of the glasses, was going to be shelved, and the version used by businesses has since been ditched too. Sean and Sam speak to the BBC's former technology correspondent, Rory Cellan Jones, and the 'godfather' of wearable technology, Professor Sandy Pentland from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), to discover how Google Glass went from being the best thing since sliced bread, to toast.Presenter: Sean Farrington Producer: Jay Unger
06/04/2325m 36s

Introducing Toast

Greg Foot introduces a new series from the team that brought you Sliced Bread.In Toast, Sean Farrington examines the wonder products and businesses that promised so much at launch but ultimately crashed and burned. With the help of industry experts, he asks what went wrong and what - if anything - they could have done differently.Toast is available in the Sliced Bread feed on BBC Sounds.
03/04/232m 6s

Sourdough

Is sourdough the best thing since Sliced Bread?It’s the last episode in the current series so I thought it was about time I investigated this! Listener Janet got in touch wanting to know whether sourdough really does live up to the hype. Is it better for our digestive health than other breads? Is it made with fewer additives? And do the cheaper sourdough loaves we can buy in the supermarket really cut it - or are they just ‘sourfaux’?To find out, I went to a baking school to make a sourdough loaf from scratch, learning about the process and ingredients that go to make the sort of sourdough you’d find at an artisan or traditional bakers - and might cost over five pounds.And I speak to one of the world’s leading nutritional experts on bread to find out which types we should eat for our health.This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
31/03/2325m 13s

Mascara

Mascara is a crucial element of many a make-up bag - but can mascaras really deliver on their promises of longer, fuller, or curlier lashes? Listener Kath got in touch to ask exactly that. She also wants to know if you pay more for mascara, do you get better results? How should we remove it - and what about waterproof products that are tough to take off? Are we potentially damaging our lashes? Greg Foot sets his sights on investigating by recruiting some regular mascara wearers to try out differently priced products, as well as speaking to a consultant dermatologist and cosmetic chemist to find out. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
23/03/2326m 15s

Toothpaste

Do toothpastes promising to repair enamel and help with sensitive teeth really work?We've all been there - you go down the supermarket aisle to grab toothpaste and suddenly you’re faced with an ocean of the stuff, all promising to do different things. Buzz-phrases like ‘protect’ and ‘repair’ all vie for your attention. But just what are the ingredients in all these different toothpastes? And do they live up to the marketing hype?In this episode we hear from three listeners keen to find out: Bernadette has sensitive teeth, Deirdre is concerned about her enamel and Melvyn wants to protect his gums. Can presenter Greg Foot find a toothpaste that will work for them and leave them all smiles?This series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
16/03/2325m 57s

Herbal Sleep Aids

Sleep is never more important than when you aren’t getting any. And there’s a large range of night time teas, herbal tablets and relaxing oils and sprays that promise to help you get some. But can they really deliver?Listener Corrine got in touch after struggling with her sleep post menopause, wanting to know if there was any evidence to back up the claims of various natural sleep aids. Can they give her the restful night’s sleep she craves – or is it just a waste of money? She sets Greg Foot the job of finding out, by speaking to an expert sleep physiologist, as well as a professor in clinical pharmacology, therapeutics and toxicology. This series we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
09/03/2327m 25s

Mattresses

We spend a lot of time on them so it’s important to get the right mattress. But buying one can be confusing. Some use springs while others are made out of foam - or there’s a combination of both. Then there’s memory foam, with brands like Tempur claiming to make their mattresses out of ‘proprietary’ material. And can a good mattress help to alleviate back pain?These are the questions keeping listener Stephen up at night and he tasks presenter Greg Foot with finding out more. Greg speaks to experts in the mattress industry and a sleep specialist, looking at the scientific evidence to test whether the claims made by mattress manufacturers live up to the marketing hype. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Simon Hoban
02/03/2326m 59s

Conditioners and Heat Protection Products

After the Sliced Bread episode on shampoo, a number of listeners got in touch to request a follow-up episode on conditioners. So of course, we obliged. Listener Katie wanted to know what they actually do to our hair, if they can deliver on promises for shinier, smoother, or stronger locks – and whether leave-in treatments could be more effective than conditioners you wash off in the shower? Listener Franziska also got in touch, as she wondered if we could also have a look at heat protection products. She wanted to know what’s in them, can they offer our hair any protection while styling, and is there a difference between the effectiveness of sprays or creams? Greg Foot rinses out the claims on both, speaking once again to the experts from Shampoo – also available on BBC Sounds. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad, and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Kate Holdsworth
23/02/2327m 7s

Bottled Water

Listener Isla, 11, wants to know if bottled water from the UK's biggest selling brands such as Evian and Buxton is cleaner, healthier, cheaper and greener than the stuff that comes from the tap.Greg Foot drills down into the subject, investigating the claims made by manufacturers of bottled water. Does it make any difference if water has spent years underground being "filtered by rocks" before being bottled? Are there more minerals in bottled water than in tap? And even though companies are making more of their bottles from recycled plastic, what’s the environmental impact?Greg speaks to experts including a lecturer in water chemistry, an environmental NGO and a water sommelier (yes, they’re a thing!) who explains why some bottled water can cost more than a hundred pounds.This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
16/02/2326m 41s

Painkillers

When it comes to shop-bought painkillers, there are rows and rows of shelves dedicated to them in supermarkets and pharmacies – ranging from own-brand tablets, to more expensive capsules and caplets, as well as branded packets that promise to work faster, and target specific pain. Listener Hannah got in touch all the way from Tunisia to ask the questions – what’s the difference between paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin? Can certain painkillers target specific pain? And are any of them able to deliver faster pain relief than others – particularly the pricier branded ones? Greg Foot swallows all the information available, and talks to experts in clinical pharmacology and biochemistry to find out. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
09/02/2326m 24s

Eco Laundry Products

In this episode presenter Greg Foot investigates three products that promise to make washing your laundry better for the planet.Listener Clare wants to know if the Ecoegg she’s using really is a greener alternative to liquid detergent and whether the cleaning pellets inside are harmful to the environment.Another listener, Jane, got in touch about laundry sheets – strips of concentrated detergent that go inside the washing machine’s drum. Is the slightly higher cost worth it to cut down on waste?And finally Mary wanted to know about filters that capture harmful microfibres which are shed from our clothes in the washing process and get into the environment, causing huge problems for marine life.This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
02/02/2328m 16s

Petrol

Petrol is something millions of drivers around the UK rely on, but when faced with the choice of what to fill up with at the pumps, many wonder what is the difference between regular and premium unleaded?That’s exactly what listener Irfan wanted to know, and if premium can really deliver on its promises to make your car more efficient, take you further, and clean out your engine for a higher price tag. Greg Foot drives the investigation into unleaded petrol, what’s changed since we moved from E5 to E10 as our standard, what makes premium special, can it take you further, and whether our carbon footprint is better with one than the other?PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
26/01/2327m 5s

Energy Drinks

Sales of energy drinks are rising and their brightly coloured cans line the shelves of almost every supermarket or grocery store in the UK. But do brands like Monster, Red Bull and Relentless deliver on their promises? Listener Syed is a consultant radiologist and says he needs to be on his A-Game in his demanding job. He wants to know if an energy drink would be any better than his usual cup of coffee in helping him stay alert. He's also keen to know more about some of the ingredients they contain - things like taurine, guarana and electrolytes. What exactly do they do? And are energy drinks safe to drink regularly?Presenter Greg Foot has a thirst for knowledge and speaks to expert dieticians and cardiologists to find out if energy drinks live up to the hype. Are they the best thing since sliced bread - or marketing BS?PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
19/01/2326m 40s

Shampoo

Shampoo ranges hugely in price, from own brand bottles to premium products that promise to improve your hair, leaving it in better condition, stronger and shinier. But can they really deliver?Listener Sophie sent in a WhatsApp to ask just that, as well as whether we should use different shampoos depending on our hair type, if sulphates or parabens could be harmful to our hair, and if shampoo bars can do the job just as well, and be a greener option? Greg Foot untangles some of the most common claims by speaking with a clinical Trichologist (someone who has studied the structure, function and diseases of human hair) as well as an expert chemist and pharmaceutical analyst. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
12/01/2325m 49s

Cold Defence Nasal Sprays

Two products dominate the market for nasal sprays that claim to reduce symptons of a cold - Vicks ‘First Defence’ and Boots ‘Dual Defence’. But do they work?Listener Leah got in touch because she catches lots of colds from her young son and wants to know if they can help her get over them more quickly. She also wants to know if they’re safe to use regularly and how long you should take them for.Presenter Greg Foot sniffs out the evidence and talks to a leading expert who’s dedicated most of his career to investigating cold remedies. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
05/01/2323m 11s

Batteries

In the run up to Christmas, many parents will be checking on their battery supplies ahead of Santa bringing gifts that require them. But do branded batteries, that promise more power and longer life at a higher price point, really deliver it?Listener Peter got in touch asking just that, as well as whether batteries have an expiry date? Greg Foot recruits some year 7 pupils and their teacher to help him perform a test to find out, and speaks to one of the country’s leading scientists about what gives a battery more power, or helps it store more energy. You can also hear more about the difference between single use, and rechargeable batteries in our longer podcast episode on BBC Sounds. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
15/12/2226m 33s

Perfume

Smelling good can come with a hefty price tag with the price of perfumes often getting into the hundreds of pounds. But what if there was a cheaper alternative?Listener Callum got in touch because his bottle of expensive perfume is about to run out. Presenter Greg Foot turns his nose to the task, testing so-called 'clone' perfumes which claim to get as close the originals as to be indistinguishable - but for a fraction of the cost. Speaking to an expert perfumer he finds out exactly how the clone houses copy the ingredients of designer perfumes and whether they last as long.Do they pass the sniff test? Are they the best thing since sliced bread or just marketing BS?This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
08/12/2229m 14s

Razors

It’s something most of us will have used at some point, and a product that has been around for decades in various forms. But do all the advertised fancy features, pivoting heads, multiple blades and higher price tags, really make a difference to your shave?Listener Tim got in touch, asking just that, as well as whether all the extras on razors these days also have an impact on the environment?Greg Foot focuses on modern cartridge razors in this episode, and cuts through the marketing hype to get answers, by speaking to a leading Dermatologist, as well as one of the top scientists at one of the largest razor manufacturers, Gillette.This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
01/12/2229m 23s

Collagen Supplements

It’s one of the most talked-about cosmetic products but what’s the evidence that collagen supplements really do slow the visible signs of the ageing process? Listener Jo got in touch wanting to know if the collagen supplement she’s spending £53 per month on will live up to its claim of reducing wrinkles, while promoting “glossy hair and plump dewy skin.”Other listeners asked whether it can help with joint aches and pains, or strengthen nails?Greg Foot sets out to answer all these questions by speaking to a leading consultant dermatologist as well as the co-founders of two of the biggest companies selling collagen supplements, Absolute Collagen and Ingenious Beauty. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
24/11/2229m 21s

Wake Up Lights & SAD Lamps

With shorter days, longer nights, and bad weather leading to the winter blues for many, and for some the more severe Seasonal Affective Disorder, Sliced Bread investigates whether specially designed lights can really help improve how we feel.Listener Ross got in touch on WhatsApp after he’d read claims Wake Up Lights and SAD Lamps can boost our mood, and wanted to know what “medically certified” means when accredited to them, and if it’s worth paying extra for it? Greg Foot finds out by speaking to a leading expert in light therapy, as well as by visiting a manufacturer of these lights, to ask them to explain their claims, and whether they’re medically recognised in the UK. This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
17/11/2232m 52s

Portable Heaters

It's getting colder and with the cost of living rising, how best to heat our homes in the most efficient way possible has become a big question.Listener Ken got in touch about a new kind of portable ceramic heater he's seen advertised, promising to heat your room using 30% less energy.Greg Foot teams up with Octopus Energy to run it through the evidence mill and test it against three other types of portable heater: a convection heater, a fan heater and an oil-filled radiator to find out which gives the most heat for the lowest energy used. The aim is to find out which portable heater is best for heating you, and the room you're in. And how does all that compare to using gas central heating?This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: SIMON HOBAN
10/11/2228m 48s

Natural Deodorants

The Natural Deodorant market has recently expanded, with plenty of products out there promising to keep you fresh, and dry, without the use of traditional ingredients such as aluminium salts. Listener PC Hollie got in touch on WhatsApp after she’d seen claims that regular deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminium salts might be bad for our health, and wanted to know if natural deodorants are really better for us?She also wanted to know why they’re more expensive, if it’s worth paying more, and if they can do the same job and keep her dry while she’s fighting crime. Greg Foot finds out by speaking with a dermatologist Dr. Adil Sheraz, a chemist specialising in the makeup of natural products, Dr. Barbara Olioso, and by performing a “sweat test” where he convinced fellow gym goers to sniff his pits, and assess his sweat patches.This series, we’re testing and investigating your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
03/11/2227m 15s

Compression leggings, Bath salts, Water softeners and filters

Can compression leggings improve performance and help your limbs recover after exercise? Do magnesium bath salts really help soothe aching muscles? And do water softeners and filters really help save us money on our appliances by preventing scale from building up in our pipes?With Greg still in Edinburgh for the Festival, we’re sticking with last week’s format and investigating THREE of the wonder-products you’ve sent us on WhatsApp in a "triple slice" of quick investigations.First up, Listener Sarah from North Devon wants to know if buying expensive compression leggings can really help improve her exercise performance and speed up her recovery. Greg speaks to one of the UK’s leading researchers on compression garments, Dr. Jess Hill, to find out the science behind them – and when we should wear them. Second is listener Rosie from Sheffield who wants to know if magnesium or 'Epsom' bath salts really can help soothe aching muscles – so Greg chats to leading expert on magnesium, Dr. Lindsy Kass from the University of Hertfordshire to find out what it does in our bodies, and if we can actually absorb it through our skin. And third, Listener Matthew from Suffolk wants to know if Water Softeners and filters can improve water quality, if they’re necessary, and if they can save us money on our household appliances by preventing the build up of scale. Greg chats to internationally recognised expert in drinking water Vanessa Speight - to find out.Keep your suggestions coming for wonder-products you’d like us to investigate. Send them over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or as a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807. PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
18/08/2227m 51s

Dog food, Diet fizzy drinks, Mouthwash

Is expensive dog food better for your pooch than the cheap stuff? Are diet fizzy drinks actually ‘bad’ for you? And should we all add mouthwash to our bathroom routine?With Greg up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this week we’re doing something a little different - investigating THREE of the wonder-products you’ve sent us on WhatsApp in a triple slice of quick investigations.First up, listener Ali in Bristol wants to know whether the expensive dog food she bought is really better for her new pooch than the cheaper stuff. Greg speaks to one of the UK’s most senior vets to find out the differences between wet and dry dog food and whether the latest doggy diet trends of vegan and raw food diets are a good idea for our canine companions.Second is Sophie who loves Diet Coke but her friends and family say it’s bad for her. Greg finds out about the latest evidence from the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK regulator, the Food Standards Agency.Finally, listener Helen wants to know - what’s the point of mouthwash? And in finding out, Greg’s bathroom routine is turned on its head!Keep your suggestions coming for wonder-products you’d like us to investigate. Send them over on email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or as a voice note to our WhatsApp number: 07543 306807.PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
11/08/2225m 58s

Paint

We watch paint dry for you to find out if pricey paint is worth it.Domestic interior wall paint comes in many different pots, colours, types and price points. However some claim the extra pennies mean they’re not only better quality and offer a better finish, but that they’re better for the environment too. Listener Emily got in touch on WhatsApp after she bought a house that needs redecorating. She has six children, two dogs, two tortoises, two ducks and five chickens, so is very much in need of a paint that will offer good coverage, but be wipeable, and durable too, and wants to know if she needs to pay more to get that?She also wanted to know about VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds – that the expensive paints say they don’t contain, and if she buys a cheaper paint will any of these VOCs harm her kids and the environment?Greg Foot finds this out by speaking to a paint inspector, and testing out differently priced paints with a painter and decorator to find out which ones meet the promises they’re making. This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there’s any evidence to back up a claim, drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
04/08/2227m 22s

Massage Guns

Can massage guns from the likes of Theragun, Pulse Roll and others brands, help you warm up before exercise and recover more quickly after it?Massage guns are one of the biggest-selling fitness devices of the past few years. They have a vibrating silicone head that delivers percussive pressure onto the muscle. Manufacturers claim ‘vibration’ therapy increases bloodflow and helps the user warm up before exercise, perform better during it AND ease soreness afterwards. But does it?Listener Clare got in touch after she bought one following a tip-off from a friend that they could help relieve aches and pains after a run (including a bad back) as well as her husband’s sore shoulder.Greg Foot finds out if those claims are true by speaking to manufacturers, leading physiotherapists and scientists involved in the latest research.This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
28/07/2224m 58s

Fat Burning Pills

Is there really a pill that can help you burn fat? Sticking to a good diet and exercising to lose weight takes hard work and discipline, so what if there was something you could take that could do some of that work for you?Listener June got in touch wanting to know if this is the case, or if it’s too good to be true? Are there really pills being sold online and on the high street that can help you burn fat, or speed up your metabolism?Greg Foot investigates, hearing from some people who’ve tried them, scientists and dieticians about what exactly is in these pills, and asking if there is any evidence to back up their claims that they can burn fat. This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807 PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Kate Holdsworth
21/07/2225m 54s

Sunglasses

Do more expensive pairs better protect your eyes? Whether you’re hoping to catch some rays here in the UK or heading abroad for summer sun, you’ll want to think about protecting your eyes from the harmful UV in those rays. But how much do you need to spend on sunglasses to keep you safe?Listener Wayne got in touch wanting to know the answer. He also wondered whether darker tints better protect his eyes, and asked what the term ‘polarised’ means, and whether he should ensure any new pair are exactly that?Greg Foot sets out to investigate, testing sunglasses ranging in price from £2.50 to over a hundred pounds - do they deliver on their UV protection? The results are surprising... This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
14/07/2224m 41s

Manuka Honey

A small jar of this sticky stuff can cost anything from around ten pounds to over a thousand. Some brands claim it can help with sore throats, skin problems, hay-fever and poor sleep. Other producers curiously make no health claims at all about their manuka products. So what’s the buzz about and is there any science behind it? Listener and beekeeper David got to get in touch to ask whether manuka honey can boost the immune system, and if it has any benefits over and above the ordinary honey from his bees produce. Greg Foot gets stuck in to find out, talking with two microbiologists to learn why manuka honey is different and if there’s any truth to some of those sweet sounding claims. This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807Presenter: Greg Foot Producers: Julian Paszkiewicz & Kate Holdsworth Researcher: Darcy Tapley
30/06/2223m 15s

Air Fryers

It seems like everyone’s talking about air fryers. They were recently dubbed the product that defined 2021, with sales up by 400%. But how do they fry with air?Listener Sally in Harrogate has another question too: at a time when the cost of living is rocketing will cooking with an air fryer save her money? And, because they use little to no oil, is cooking food in an air fryer also “healthier”? Greg Foot investigates, speaking to a food scientist at Imperial College London and the BBC’s Good Food Magazine, to find out whether the claims being made around air fryers live up to the hype or are just marketing BS.This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
23/06/2230m 14s

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers have become one of the most popular home gadgets in recent years and you can spend hundreds of pounds on the top-end models. They promise to remove harmful pollutants in the air, reduce the symptoms of allergies and help you breathe more easily in a more healthy environment. But what's the evidence around how effective they are? Listener Laura, a respiratory doctor, got in touch wanting to know whether they work and even if they could help some of her patients in their daily lives. Greg Foot investigates the science behind the product, speaking to experts to find out just how many pollutants are being pulled from thin air, the effective range of air purifiers and whether there are any downsides to how they work.This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCERS: Kate Holdsworth and Julian Paszkiewicz
16/06/2224m 43s

Carbon Negative and Carbon Offsetting

Brands are promising to plant a tree for each can of beer, tshirt, or pair of trainers you buy, offsetting their carbon emissions so they can put an attractive ‘carbon negative’ sticker on a product to show green they - and you - truly are. But how effective is a new forest at offsetting a company’s emissions, what does ‘carbon negative’ really mean, and how do they go about proving they’ve achieved it? Trees are just one type of carbon offset. Another, albeit promising but expensive, option is Direct Air Capture. Could that be the future of long term carbon offsetting? Greg Foot finds out. This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up a claim drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or you can send us a voice note to our new WhatsApp number: 07543 306807PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
09/06/2225m 25s

Meal Replacement Drinks

Huel and Soylent are two of the best known names in ‘complete nutrition’ drinks. More of us are trying them and you can now get pre-made bottles of these concoctions in the food aisle in supermarkets. Firms sell them as an instant alternative to breakfast, lunch and dinner too. But how ‘nutritionally complete’ are these liquid lunches? Listener Tom admits snacking on one in the middle of the afternoon but has questions. Does the fact they start as an ultra processed powder affect how healthy they are? Is it possible to live on them and nothing else? Greg Foot investigates. He talks to a registered dietician, a researcher on a new trial into these products, and Huel's co-founder and Head of Sustainable Nutrition, James Collier. In this series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up the makers' claims drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.ukPresenter: Greg Foot Producer: Julian Paszkiewicz
02/06/2224m 51s

Electric Toothbrushes (& Water Flossers)

Take a look down the aisle of any high street chemist and the array of electric toothbrushes on offer is as dazzling as the teeth they promise to give you. You can pay upto £500 for the latest versions whiose myriad features include interactive apps that give you feedback on your brushing technique.The market is dominated by two big brands, both promising a ‘professional’ clean: Oral B, whose iO brush has an oscillating action and Philips’ Sonicare, which uses tens of thousands of vibrations every minute to clean your teeth.After having to pay a lot more for private treatment because she couldn’t find an NHS dentist in her area, listener Holly got in touch to ask whether getting an electric brush might save her trips to the dentist in future. And wouldcould a more expensive brush really clean her teeth better than a cheaper electric one? Or even the trusty traditional (and far cheaper) manual one she currently uses?! Greg takes to the dentists chair to find out, testing both the Oral B and Philips brands as well as one of the latest trends – water flossing, which claim even better results than regular flossing with tape or interdental brushes. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Or marketing BS? Greg guests this episode include a dental expert who's been studying electric brushes since their inception and the consumer group Which? who ranked electric toothbrushes in a recent consumer test of their own.This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. Seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up the claim? Tell us! Drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk . PRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
26/05/2224m 53s

Blue Light Filtering Glasses

According to some businesses, the laptop, phone and TV screens we use every day are causing us big problems. They claim these devices emit concentrations of "harmful blue light" which leaves us with tired eyes and poor sleep. One firm goes even further by suggesting this may contribute to a worrying long term condition, macular degeneration which leaves you with a permanent black hole in the centre of your vision.Their solution? A pair of trendy looking spectacles which claim to filter out this blue light. Listener, Sophie spends roughly 12 hours a day at a screen of some sort. She bought a pair but isn't sure if they work. So she's asked Greg to look into them and find out. We get answers from two leading lights in the science of our eyes. Professor John O'Hagan has been a public health scientist for 46 years and is Visiting Professor in Laser and Optical Radiation Safety at Loughborough University. Greg also meets sleep expert Russell Foster, professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford who's been researching body clocks for 38 years. We put the evidence directly to Dhruvin Patel. He's the boss of one of the largest blue light filtering brands, Ocushield which turned over £2m last year.How does he respond? And will Sophie keep using her trendy specs? This series, we’re testing your suggested wonder-products. Seen an ad, trend or fad and wonder if there's any evidence to back up the claim? Tell us! Drop us an line to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk . Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Julian Paszkiewicz
19/05/2224m 4s

Personalised Vitamin Plans

The vitamins market is growing fast, with many companies now offering bespoke vitamin plans that claim to produce the perfect personalised prescription just for you.Our listener Gareth wants to know if this could be a quick fix for his low energy and poor diet so Greg is going to find out. He’s got his sights on the popular companies suggesting personalised plans based on a simple online questionnaire that builds up a picture of your vitamin deficiencies via questions about your exercise, stress levels, diet and more.But these personalise plans comes at a premium - some go for close to £25 per month. Greg tests the questionnaires, speaks with nutritional experts, and sees whether Gareth thinks personalised vitamin plans are the best thing since sliced bread, or marketing BS.This season we’re testing YOUR suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an advert, trend or fad and want to know what the evidence says drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop Greg a message direct on his social media where he’s @gregfootPRESENTER: Greg Foot PRODUCER: Simon Hoban
12/05/2224m 34s

Running Shoes

They cost anything from less than £20 to more than £250. So how do you pick the right pair? And will paying more make you run faster?With the ‘Couch to 5K’ app breezing past 5 million downloads, and marathon season well underway, two listeners ask Greg: What will they get for the extra money? A shoe more suited to their running style? More cushioning and fewer injuries? And will a top of the range pair with a carbon plate in the sole make them faster? Greg Foot gets the answers from biomechanist, Dr Hannah Rice and sports technologist Professor Mike Caine. Plus, running writer, journalist and world record holder [for the fastest marathon in a full body animal costume (female)], Kate Carter. This season we’re testing YOUR suggested wonder-products. If you’ve seen an advert, trend or fad and want to know what the evidence says drop us an email to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or drop Greg a message direct on his social media where he’s @gregfootPresenter: Greg FootProducer: Julian Paszkiewicz
05/05/2224m 31s

Air Source Heat Pumps

One of your most requested ‘wonder-products’ so far. Heat pumps are promising to not only make our houses greener but to also cut our energy bills. But will they? The Government says every home could have one and have reintroduced grants to help buy them. However Nick wants to know if an air source heat pump would be suitable for the 1930s house he’s about to move into with his family. Given the higher cost of the unit and the extra insulation he needs, will he actually be better off with a new combi boiler instead? Greg speaks to experts, does a survey on his own home and gets Nick answers so he can decide if a heat pump, for him, would be the best thing since sliced bread. Do you have a suggestion of a ‘wonder-product’ making a bold claim that Greg can investigate next? Send us your suggestions to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send it to Greg direct on twitter or instagram where he’s @gregfootPRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: SIMON HOBAN
28/04/2225m 1s

Wagyu Beef

For many beef connoisseurs, a wagyu steak is the tenderest meat money can buy. They say it literally melts in the mouth. But Pete wants to know, if a Wagyu steak can set you back £100, how can supermarkets sell Wagyu burgers for around £3.50 a pair? How much of what makes wagyu beef so prized trickles down into a burger?Greg speaks to meat scientist, Martin Anderson, visits a Wagyu farm in Yorkshire, and sets up a blind taste test. All to find out if Wagyu burgers are the best thing between sliced bread. Do you have a suggestion of a ‘wonder-product’ making a bold claim that Greg can investigate next? Send us your suggestions to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send it to Greg direct on Twitter or Instagram where he’s @gregfoot PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCERS: JULIAN PASZKIEWICZ & KEVIN CORE
22/04/2225m 15s

Sustainable Jeans

“Make better. Buy better. Wear it longer.” Lots of fashion brands are including claims like this in their adverts and one item of clothing that’s really getting the stamp of supposed “sustainability” is jeans.Maddie has asked Greg to look into what “sustainability” actually means when it comes to denim. Is it a term that marks genuine eco-impact, or is it more marketing BS? And, as adverts claim, do “sustainable” jeans last longer? Greg speaks to an organisation that rates clothing brands’ sustainability credentials and visits Manchester Metropolitan University to hear the results of their ‘rub test’. Do you have a suggestion of a ‘wonder-product’ making a bold claim that Greg can investigate next? Send us your suggestions to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send it to Greg direct on Twitter and Instagram where he’s @gregfootPRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: JULIAN PASZKIEWICZ
14/04/2225m 21s

Electric Cars

Read Greg's blog for more info on the considerations and calculations made in this episode:https://www.gregfoot.com/post/should-you-switch-to-an-electric-carElectric Vehicles: Should you switch? In the first of this new series Greg runs Julian’s suggested wonder-product through the evidence mill and asks whether electric vehicles (EVs) really are the best thing since sliced bread? Julian has heard that switching his old petrol-guzzling banger for a shiny new EV will make him greener? But will it? Electric cars are said to be ‘cleaner’ and ‘cheaper’ to run, but with a higher purchase price than their petrol equivalent - and a greater environmental footprint of manufacture - how many miles would Julian need to drive before his fuel savings off-set these initial costs - both financially and environmentally? Greg tests one of the most popular cars in the UK and hears from experts including Mike Berners-Lee & Vicky Parrot to conclude whether electric vehicles are worth the hype, and your money. And he wants YOUR suggestions for what to investigate next! Is there something you keep seeing on TV - or hearing about on a podcast? Have you spotted something trending on Instagram or TikTok and you want to know if it delivers? Send us your suggestions to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send it to Greg direct on twitter or instagram where he’s @gregfoot PRESENTER: GREG FOOT PRODUCER: JULIAN PASZKIEWICZ
07/04/2229m 41s

Sliced Bread is back!

Greg Foot is back to investigate more ad-hyped products and trending fads promising to make us healthier, happier and greener.From personalised vitamin plans to NFTs, mindfulness apps to ‘sustainable’ jeans, Greg will find out if the latest wonder-products really are 'the best thing since sliced bread’.And he wants YOUR suggestions for what to investigate! Is there something you keep seeing on TV or hearing about on a podcast? Have you spotted something trending on Instagram or TikTok and want to know if it delivers? Send us your suggestions to sliced.bread@bbc.co.uk or send them to Greg direct on Twitter or Instagram where he’s @gregfoot.
06/04/222m 27s

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Whether it’s cutting out the background chatter to hear the radio, or drowning out the snoring coming from the room next door, the promise of noise cancelling headphones is enticing. But do they live up to the marketing hype? Are they The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, or BS?Greg Foot is joined by BBC 6 Music DJ & Host Mary Anne Hobbs, who lends her professional ear to a pair of noise cancelling headphones. While acoustic engineer Professor Trevor Cox unpicks the science fact from the science fiction.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Beth Eastwood
06/05/2020m 48s

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening toothpastes, strips and gizmos are more popular than ever. But what is the evidence that any of them actually work? And what about the HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit that's been doing the rounds on social media?Are these products The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread or marketing BS?Greg Foot talks to fashion commentator and broadcaster, Grace Woodward about her experience with these products while Professor Martin Ashley, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry at the University Dental Hospital of Manchester, is on hand to separate the science fact from the science fiction. Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Beth Eastwood
29/04/2022m 53s

Sunscreen

We all know that sunscreen helps to protect our skin from the sun’s burning rays, but are you sure you’re using the right one? Do you struggle to untangle the UVAs from the UVBs, and the SPFs from the star-ratings?Greg Foot talks to Antonia Mariconda, beauty writer and founder of the Safety in Beauty Campaign, who knows just how baffled consumers are.On hand to decode the sunscreen labelling is Dermatologist, Dr Andrew Birnie, from East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust. Common claims, such as ‘waterproof’ and ‘reef safe’ are also put through the evidence mill.Producer: Beth Eastwood
22/04/2023m 47s

CBD Products (Cannabidiol)

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the big buzzwords in health and well being products. A naturally occurring molecule of the cannabis plant, it’s popping up in everything - aside from the CBD oil tinctures, you can now eat it, down it in drinks, vape it, lather it on your skin and soak in it. You can even buy sports leggings infused with it. Consumer interest in CBD-based products shows no sign of abating, with enthusiasts claiming a whole host of benefits from relieving anxiety, to easing pain and helping us sleep.The theory behind how CBD might work seems promising - CBD shares similarities with endocannabinoids, produced naturally in the body, which help to regulate stress, sleep, metabolism, memory, inflammation, and immunity. Given the deluge of different CBD-based products, should we really believe the hype?Greg Foot talks to beauty columnist Sali Hughes and Saoirse O’Sullivan, an expert in cannabinoid research, to find out if these products really are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. Produced by Beth Eastwood.
15/04/2021m 54s

Caffeine Shampoo

Can caffeine hair products prevent our hair from getting thinner as we get older and, even better, reverse the process? Or does this ingredient just end up going down the plughole?Joining Greg Foot in the studio is Ian Carmichael, Senior Director in Styling at Trevor Sorbie, the Hair Salon, who styles many high profile heads including Her Majesty the Queen’s.Dermatologist Dr Paul Farrant, from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, is on hand to put two products through the evidence mill, separating the facts from the fads to reveal whether caffeine hair products really are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. Produced by Beth Eastwood.
08/04/2029m 27s

Goop Lab Special

As the Goop Lab TV series lands in Netflix accounts, Greg Foot and guests look at the scientific evidence for the therapies tried out by Goop staff, including Gwyneth Paltrow herself. Dr James Rucker, lead on the psilocybin trials at King's College, London, talks about psychedelic therapy, and Dr Sarah Davey, Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Science, Oxford Brookes University, discusses the evidence for cold water therapy. To check out if there's any science behind vampire facials and other skin treatments Greg turns to Dr Nisith Sheth, dermatologist at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. Professor Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, is our reviewer of the evidence for the effects of Reiki and other forms of energy healing. And gynaecologist and pain specialist, Dr Jen Gunter, author of The Vagina Bible, is our expert on what the Goop Lab says about how women can have better sex.
24/01/201h 7m

Sports pain: Taping

We’ve all seen athletes sporting brightly coloured stripes on the backs of their legs – but is kinesiology tape all it’s cracked up to be? Presenter Greg Foot is joined by Olympic medallist heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, along with consultant rheumatologist Dr Benjamin Ellis and Manchester United FC’s head of physical therapies Prof Michael Callaghan, to ask whether these products can, as some claim, help athletes train for longer and finish stronger?
27/02/1922m 38s

Sports pain: Gels and sprays

Do topical pain products really relieve aching muscles? Presenter Greg Foot is joined by Olympic medallist heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, along with consultant rheumatologist Dr Benjamin Ellis and Manchester United FC’s head of physical therapies Prof Michael Callaghan, to test the cooling gels and warming sprays that promise to reach deep into painful joints.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Marijke Peters Editor: Rami Tzabar Sound Editing: Giles Aspen
27/02/1934m 21s

Health drinks: Turmeric

Can turmeric lattes prevent memory loss? Greg Foot is joined by Blur’s Alex James and experts to put claims about this ancient Indian spice to the test.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Marijke Peters Studio Manager: Sue Maillot Editor: Rami Tzabar
20/02/1920m 0s

Health drinks: Kombucha

Does kombucha boost your immune system? Greg Foot is joined by Blur’s Alex James and experts to put this fermented wonder drink to the test.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Marijke Peters
20/02/1926m 48s

Winter bugs: Vitamin C and zinc

Vitamin C is one of the most popular products used to combat the common cold. But does it work? Greg Foot reviews the evidence for both vitamin C and zinc to see if they are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.He’s joined again by podcaster, rapper and actor Scroobius Pip and virologist Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London. The team will be giving you their Top Tips, backed by real scientific evidence, for beating the winter bugs.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Michelle Martin Researcher: Amelia West Studio Managers: Emma Harth, John Boland Editors: Deborah Cohen, Rami TzabarThe Best Thing Since Sliced Bread is a BBC Science Radio Unit Production.
13/02/1924m 36s

Winter bugs: Hand sanitisers

With offices and schools set to a soundtrack of sniffles, science presenter and YouTuber Greg Foot is on mission to find 'The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread' to beat the winter bugs.Joining him for this double episode is rapper, podcaster and actor Scroobius Pip, a man for whom protecting his voice is a professional priority. Under the microscope today are those handy hand sanitisers that promise to stop bacteria and viruses in their tracks.Virologist Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London and microbiologist Lindsay Hall from the Quadram Institute in Norwich are both on hand to help separate the facts from the fads, to decide if these products really are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Michelle Martin Researcher: Amelia West Studio Managers: Emma Harth, John Boland Editors: Deborah Cohen, Rami TzabarThe Best Thing Since Sliced Bread is a BBC Science Radio Unit Production.
13/02/1932m 22s

Skincare: Activated charcoal

Will activated charcoal, which these days can be found in everything from face creams to smoothies, really purify your pores? Science presenter and YouTuber Greg Foot is on a mission to bust marketing BS, looking for the facts behind the fads and challenging products’ bold claims with scientific evidence. In the second episode, Greg is joined by actress and beauty blogger Rebecca Humphries, consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth and Cambridge Professor of Chemistry, Melinda Duer to explore the science behind activated charcoal - could it act as a 'magnet' to draw out dirt and pollution from your pores as some products claim?Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Graihagh Jackson Studio Manager: John Boland Editor: Rami TzabarThe Best Thing Since Sliced Bread is a BBC Science Radio Unit Production
06/02/1920m 11s

Skincare: Collagen

Can collagen face cream reduce wrinkles and make your skin more youthful? Science presenter and YouTuber Greg Foot is on a mission to bust marketing BS, looking for the facts behind the fads and challenging products’ bold claims with scientific evidence. In the first episode, Greg is joined by actress and beauty blogger Rebecca Humphries, consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth and Cambridge Professor of Chemistry, Melinda Duer to explore the science behind collagen face creams – can they really ‘boost’ and ‘support’ collagen production as some products claim?Presenter: Greg Foot Producer: Graihagh Jackson Studio Manager: John Boland Editor: Rami TzabarThe Best Thing Since Sliced Bread is a BBC Science Radio Unit Production
06/02/1924m 50s

Welcome to The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

From kombucha to collagen, activated charcoal to sports tape, Greg Foot is on a mission to bust the marketing BS, looking for the facts behind the fads and to challenge a product’s bold claims with scientific evidence.Joined by leading experts and friends from the world of podcasting and social media, Greg investigates the latest crazes to hit the high street to work out if these wonder products really are the best thing since sliced bread. (all subject to updates)
05/02/192m 24s
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