What the UK eats
A comprehensive survey detailing what UK people eat has been available since 1940. It was called the National Food Survey from 1940 until 2000 and has been called the Family Food Survey since 2002.
The most recent Family Food Survey was published in December 2013 for 2012 data. It can be seen here. Table 2.4 is the main summary table for intakes by food category. The full table lists fat intake (who cares?) and some nutrients. The breakdown by energy intake is as follows:
||All Food (average per person per day)
||As % of diet
||Milk & Cream
||Non carcase Meat & Meat Products
||Fats & oils
||Sugar and preserves
||Fresh green vegetables
||Other fresh vegetables
||Cakes, buns & pastries
||Other cereal products
||Other foods (ref 1)
* Real food can be found in rows 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 13. This amounts to 436 calories – 22% of the total. 78% of what the UK eats is fake food. (Natural fats like butter and lard should be separated from highly processed vegetable oils to be able to allocate real fats to the real food category and vegetable oils to the fake food category.)
* Red meat (see here and here) is invariably lumped in with processed meat in studies that try to demonise all meat intake together. The average UK person consumes four times as much processed meat and meat products (that will include pies/pasties/sausage rolls and other carb enclosed stuff) as carcase meat. We record these intakes separately and academic studies are able to analyse them separately. They rarely do so.
* The Soft Drinks Association is fond of telling us that soft drinks account for just 2% of calorie intake. This is true (2.3%) but a) it’s a totally empty calorie intake and b) it’s more than our daily calories from fresh fruit and more than twice our calories from fresh vegetables. The soft drinks calorie intake also exceeds that of fish and is almost three times our calorie intake for eggs.
* One of the reasons I don’t attack soft drinks alone is this 2% figure. The main dietary culprit is sugar – nutritionally void and omnipresent. Sugar is in every fake food above with the exception of fats and oils. Sugar is thus in rows totaling 1,382 calories – just under 70% of UK calorie intake. Without sugar (and/or artificial sweeteners) there would be no: confectionery; soft drinks; cakes; buns; pastries; biscuits; processed fruit; sugar and preserves. Without sugar the following rows would also be decimated: cereal; bread; meat products (pies etc) and other food products (ref 1) in the UK diet.
If we could cut sugar alone from the human diet it is difficult to see how obesity could prevail – or much of the chronic illness now suffered by so many people: diabetes; cancer; cardiovascular disease and so on.
Check table 2.1 to see average nutrient intake – for the fat soluble vitamins especially: 530μg retinol (don’t assume that carotene can be converted); 3.07μg vitamin D and 12.22mg vitamin E. The US recently revised the daily recommended intake of vitamin D to be 15μg. Even with the UK (ref 2) guideline of 10μg, the average UK intake is not even one third of this. In October 2013, the Chief Medical Officer for England said that the country should be “profoundly ashamed” that rickets had returned to the UK. Government dietary advice, demonising as it does real food and natural fats, achieved this. That’s what Dame Sally Davies should be profoundly ashamed of.
* Page 2 of the document (page 11/75 on the PDF count) tells us that “butter accounted for 5.8% of all fats purchased.” The gram intake for “fats and oils” was 19 grams. The average UK person thus consumes 1.1 grams of butter per day. And public health advisors think that butter makes us fat. Ha ha! Contrast this with the 835 calories per day of the starchy foods that the government tells us to eat (rows 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19).
* The same Chief Medical Officer recently lamented that “obesity has become the norm.” Look no further than what we’re eating and what you’re telling us to eat.
Ref 1: Other food products includes: mineral or spring waters, baby foods, soups, other takeaway food brought home, meals on wheels, salad dressings and other spreads & dressings, pickles, sauces, takeaway sauces and mayonnaise, stock cubes and meat & yeast extracts, jelly squares or crystals, ice cream (all types), salt, artificial sweeteners, vinegar, spices and dried herbs, bisto, gravy granules, stuffing mix, baking powder, yeast, fruit, herbal and instant teas, and soya and novel protein foods.
Ref 2: Department of Health report 41, Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the united Kingdom.