9 Responses to “England’s Obesity Strategy (not)”

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  1. Bravo! When are you going to become a government advisor? I wish!!!! They so need a sane person with ideas .

    Personally, I’m hopeful that intermittent fasting is going to be the way that helps me establish better eating habits long term, beacuse I am eating less every day and eating well every day. There must be thousands trying it, but sadly many are still eating junk every day and thinking it is okay because you can ‘eat what youwant’ 5 days out of 7….

  2. avatar Cekestria hales says:

    If you could stop every newspaper and magazine saying ‘fatty’ food it would be a huge achievement. Also I am old enough to remember exactly when diet advice changed and we were told baked potatoes with no fat or wirse’lo fat’ gunk wre the answer

  3. The tax on sugar idea is fantastic. I too was reduced to a head banging mess when I heard about the governments ‘new initiative’. A few more calories to eat, do more, eat less, food companies to help us make healthier eating choices. People don’t know what they are eating. Ergo everybody is stupid and has yet to hear the message that fat is fattening and we must all stop eating it – and buy those processed low-fat foods so we will stop turning into a nation of blubber bottoms. The old quote: Insanity defined: keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
    Of course, the sugar tax can never take off. Too much at stake with food company profits – and pharma profits from all the resulting illness (not to mention profits for the outsized clothes companies). I have heard that the food companies lobby the government here in much the same way as they do in America. Is this true?
    More power to your elbow!!

  4. avatar hakirby says:

    What’s wrong with the NHS plate? It’s a bit carb heavy and the protein portion’s a bit on the small side compared to some other approaches (zone and bikini diet) but what else do you see wrong with it?

    • avatar Zoë says:

      Hi Hakirby – have you looked at it? I mean really looked at it? Seen the cornflakes, weetabix, white rice, white bagels, white bread, sugary baked beans, sugary yoghurt, fruit in syrup, battenberg cake, Victoria sponge, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, cola (yes really)? None of those substances have a place in a healthy diet – let alone a diagram of government role model healthy eating.

      Here’s an extract from my book The Obesity Epidemic to give more detail about this plate:
      “I started with 100 grams of starchy foods and then calculated the weight of the other categories, to maintain the proposed proportions. The weight of fruit and vegetables would also be 100 grams; non dairy protein would be 45 grams; there would be 36 grams of milk and dairy and 24 grams of foods high in fat and sugar. I estimated the calorie averages for 100 grams of each of these food groups as 333, 42, 188, 183 and 595 respectively. This would give the estimated calorie values (for each of these weights) of 333, 42, 85, 67 and 144 respectively. If these are then scaled up in proportion for a 2,000 calorie a day diet, the five groups end up with 992, 125, 255, 198 and 430 calories respectively. The numbers will vary for each person’s interpretation of the plate, but you can see how one third of intake in the form of starchy foods can represent half of calorie intake and another third from fruit and vegetables just 6% of energy. The supposedly smallest segment, being so energy dense, can form a perhaps unanticipated 21% of calorie intake.

      I did the above calculation for interest and to show the law of unintended consequences, not because I want to legitimise the ‘eatwell’ plate in any way. I consider it to be an appalling proposal for healthy eating advice. Please do look up the diagram on line and see for yourself the products we are being encouraged to eat. The “Starchy foods” segment features a box of cornflakes – not Kellogg’s branded on the ‘eatwell’ plate, but Kellogg’s branded on my version of the Balance of Good Health plate from the National Obesity Forum conference, which I attended in October 2004. Even without branding, the starchy foods segment on the ‘eatwell’ plate also features Weetabix cereal, white pasta, white rice, white bagels, white bread and other refined carbohydrates.

      The fruit and vegetable segment makes no distinction between fruit (we will see the problem with fructose in Chapter Thirteen) and vegetables. The poster also features dried fruit, fruit juice, tins of vegetables (often containing sucrose) and other fruit and vegetables, which are not in the form that nature delivers them.
      The non dairy protein can all be consumed in carbohydrate form – and presumably is by vegans and mostly will be by vegetarians. This section has baked beans prominently shown at the front (not branded) and tins of chick peas and kidney beans are also in the segment. There is no caution to look out for the sugar and salt added into many such tinned products.

      The dairy section also contains carbohydrate. As a rule of thumb, dairy contains approximately 5% carbohydrate levels. The (likely) sugared yoghurts in this segment will be even higher in carbohydrate levels and sugar content.

      The final segment is astonishing – 8% of our weight intake for foods high in fat and sugar, which becomes over 20% of our calorie/energy intake. The products featured include a can of cola, sponge cake, Battenberg cake, sweets, biscuits, pies, pastries, chocolate and crisps alongside what looks to be sunflower oil and butter – surely two real and good foods.

      Each of the five segments therefore features carbohydrate, to a greater or lesser extent. Every food consumed, as recommended by this “model of healthy eating” can have an impact on insulin. Add to this the often heard advice “Graze – eat little and often” and you can see how our government advice is keeping UK citizens in a fat storing, not a fat burning, environment all day long. It is no wonder that insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance are becoming increasingly commonplace, as the human pancreas has never before had to cope with this quantity or frequency of carbohydrate, let alone this poor quality of carbohydrate.”

      Hope this helps!
      Best wishes – Zoe

  5. avatar Sharon Jamieson says:

    If only the government would change the whole thing around by sending out a brand new message (which would also allow them not to lose face in admitting that they have been pushing out all the wrong dietary advice all along). The brand new message could be about eating all the right (natural and as nature intended) foods to provide us with the right NUTRITION for health. Forget calories, forget carbohydrate (although consumption of the latter would go down if you had to up your nutrition levels anyway). The message should be about eating protein for repairing and building muscle in our bodies, natural fats in order to absolve those all important fat soluble vitamins, vegetables for vitamin C, and treats should be a little fruit. BASE meals on natural foods in order to provide our bodies with the optimum nutrition it needs!

    Young people today think of food in terms of calorie and fat content. They don’t ever think about the benefits of eating good wholesome food for health. They believe that sugar is harmless as long as they brush their teeth after eating it. They will happily consume low fat biscuits, because they believe it will do them no harm! We should teach them to consider everything they put in their bodies in terms of “is it beneficial for their health, is it a food that will nourish them “. Schools should have classes in nutrition – and these should be based on teaching kids to think in terms of healthy balanced meals. They don’t need to learn how to make pizza, pasta and bread!

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