The British Nutrition Foundation, Food Giants and our Children

We had dinner with friends recently – the proud parents of 11 and 13 year old boys. Mum could not wait to share her outrage that she was being ‘told off’ by school staff for not putting bread or snacks in the boys’ lunch boxes.

Both boys are the picture of health. They have grown up eating real food. They don’t want bread or sugary cereal bars. They want Parma ham, goat’s cheese and olives. They’re OK with berries and cream, but would choose meat over fruit any day. The only issue I see with this diet is expense and expectations. Developing a penchant for fillet steak and scallops, before reaching teenage, comes at a purse cost and sets the boys up for a shock when they leave home and pay their own bills.

Our mum friend also shared that her 11 year old had just done ‘cooking’ at school. He was asked to take in a pre-made flan base, a tin of custard and a tin of pineapple rings – they were going to ‘make’ a flan. I tweeted this and Twitter came back full of similar stories – bring in a jar of pasta sauce as we’re ‘making’ pasta tomorrow. Bring in some chopped chicken pieces and a jar of curry sauce, as we’re ‘making’ curry. One mum said on twitter that they should be called “stirring” lessons, not cooking lessons!

I was chatting to a GP about this, who was similarly alarmed by the appalling messages being given to young people that she is having to counter in her work with children. Following our conversation, I looked into how it could be that school staff felt that they had such a mandate to impose dietary advice. It turned out to be a very interesting exploration and a huge thanks to Jon Ungoed Thomas at The Sunday Times and Justin Stoneman for their investigation leading to this article on Sunday 24th May 2015.

The ‘eatwell’ plate

The ‘eatwell’ plate (what I call the eatbadly plate) was launched at a press release on Sunday 16 September 2007. It is described in the British Nutrition Foundation video on YouTube as the “healthy eating model for the UK” – suitable for young or old, vegetarian or not and for any ethnic group. We’ll come to the British Nutrition Foundation soon.

It replaced The Balance of Good Health, which was launched by the UK Department of Health in 1994 and was also a picture of a segmented plate. In April 2000, responsibility for the Balance of Good Health (BOGH) diagram and concept passed to the newly formed Food Standards Agency. The FSA web site details the differences between the two plates. The BOGH title was seen as “unfriendly” and “lacking in emotion” and so the title and some colours on the plate rim changed. Food groups were renamed. For example “bread, other cereals and potatoes” became “bread, rice, potatoes, pasta (and other starchy foods)”. May I suggest that a marketing company made a lot of money making the plate more “friendly” and “emotional”, but, to all intents and purposes, what we know as the ‘eatwell’ plate has been around since 1994.

Everything starts with this plate. The link to the NHS web site confirms that the plate “doesn’t apply to children under the age of two” but, “Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown on the eatwell plate…” From the age of two, therefore, the eatbadly plate is the role model for healthy eating.

If you look at the detailed advice offered, you can see that the carbohydrate dominant advice starts from the minute babies put anything other than breast milk or formula in their mouths. From six months, first foods are advised to be “mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables like parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear… Or soft fruit like peach, melon, soft ripe banana or avocado … Or baby rice or baby cereal mixed with your baby’s usual milk.” Carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs and more carbs.

The advice at 8-9 months looks remarkably like the eatbadly plate: “Your baby’s diet should consist of a variety of the following types of food: fruit and vegetables; bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and other starchy foods; meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein and milk and dairy products.” Only the junk segment is not mentioned – Mars Bars can come later eh I guess.

Parents have also contacted me to say – not only are they incensed by school staff telling them how to feed their own children, they get pretty furious when their little ones come home full of news about this plate – having been taught about it at school. One even said “Mummy – you’re wrong – we should be having pasta for tea.”

How has this plate become embedded in our children’s education?

The national curriculum

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) worked with the Food Standard Agency (FSA) – before the FSA was relieved of its food advice duties – to embed the eatbadly plate in the national curriculum. As this web site informs us, in 2007, the FSA and BNF launched Core Food Competences for children aged 5-16 years.

The site further tells us that the BNF initiated a review of the original framework – along with Public Health England (PHE), FSA Northern Ireland, FSA Scotland and the Welsh Government. The updated framework can be seen here.

The core competencies are set out as follows:

By the age of 7, children should:… be aware that we all need a balanced and varied diet to grow, be active and maintain health, and that we need to eat more of some foods than others, e.g. as depicted in the eatwell plate.”

By the age of 11, children should: … make food choices based on the current healthy eating advice and understand that a healthy diet is made up from a variety and balance of different food and drinks, as depicted in the eatwell plate.”

By the age of 14, children should: … use current healthy eating advice to choose a varied balanced diet for their needs and those of others.” [my note – presumably we no longer need to reference the eatbadly plate – it would be so ingrained by now.]

By the age of 16, children should: … be able to apply current healthy eating recommendations, and understanding of people’s needs, to their own diet and those of others, e.g. before and during pregnancy, breastfeeding.” [my note – remember – the eatbadly plate is for everyone for every life stage.]

The British Nutrition Foundation

When I do presentations about conflicts of interest, the slide that gets the biggest gasps is the British Nutrition Foundation list of members. Here it is:

British Nutrition Foundation Conflicts

The members of the British Nutrition Foundation are the who’s who of the fake food and drink world from Tate & Lyle to Coca-Cola with everything from Weetabix to McCain (oven chips) in-between. Most of the major UK grocery retailers are also members – even M&S, but then they are one of the worst for placing sweets at child eye level at checkouts, so we shouldn’t be surprised.

The BNF initiates a review of the school nutrition core competencies and these are the organisations behind the BNF. That’s why the Sunday Times headline “Pupils taught cola is part of a healthy diet” now makes sense.

The BNF members and the eatbadly plate

The fake food companies just love the plate. Sugary cereal is prominently featured. Junk food has its own entire segment – only supposed to be 8% by weight/space on the plate – but that ends up being 22% of daily energy intake. Don’t worry about the fruit and veg a) we can promote baked beans as one of your five a day and b) all that volume only ends up being 6% of daily energy intake. 50% of dietary intake ends up being cereals, bread, etc – no wonder Kelloggs, General Mills, Weetabix, Greggs and Warburtons are right behind it. Real food barely gets a look in – nothing much on this plate to support farmers or fishers.

You should know that your healthy eating plate is anything but when it is featured on junk food web sites:

Nestlé want you to “Use the Eatwell plate to help you choose the right foods and proportions”.

Walkers are keen to show you how “The Government’s Healthy Eating guide, The Eatwell Plate, shows how snack foods can be part of an overall balanced diet”.

United Biscuits and the Institute of Grocery have a case study to show how “The healthy eating messages collated within the Best practice guide, such as the Eatwell Plate, are used in UB’s in-house Health and Nutrition training for employees as well as on their 123healthybalance.com website”.

Kellogg’s want to make sure pregnancy features plenty of their products, as supported by the ‘eatwell’ plate.

And Sainsbury’s are only too happy to promote the ‘eatwell’ plate‘.

So parents, next time your pride and joys come home raving about bread and cereals, you may want to educate them about which foods really are the most nutritious and then give them a lesson about conflicts of interest. Clearly, this is something they need to know about from the age of 5.

47 thoughts on “The British Nutrition Foundation, Food Giants and our Children

  • avatar
    July 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm
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    Dear Zoe,

    Have you thought of including the synergistic effects of MSG and Aspartame into your general obesity epidemic formula? MSG is specifically used in clinical research to produce obese and diabetic rats, and Aspartame enhances the effect on MSG on the insulin production. I recently read that since almost all fast foods anyway contain MSG, we could reduce the ill effects by at least drinking regular soft drinks and not diet colas. This of course goes against the carbohydrate/sugar principles. Opinions?

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      July 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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      Hi Henrik
      Good point! I agree totally with the aspartame/sweetener issues (and include these in my obesity book in ones to take action against). I’m not a fan of MSG either, but had never really considered it from the weight issue.

      My diet advice is “Eat real food” i.e. avoid everything processed, so I would never advise people to have soft drinks – regular or sweetened. The MSG would just add another nail in the coffin. PhD to finish first and then MSG can go on the ‘when I’ve finished’ list!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    July 6, 2015 at 10:47 pm
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    I just saw your “1 lb does not equal 3,500 calories” piece and would like to comment. I also have questioned that number and have come up with the same explanation of why it is wrong, but a different conclusion as to what is right.

    As you note, 9 calories per gram times 454 grams per pound equals just over 4,000 calories in a pound of pure fat. And it is true that human adipose tissue contains water and other cell parts, adding weight but not calories, which reduces the amount of calories in a pound of human adipose tissue compared to a pound of pure fat.

    However, since burning fat calories reduces the amount of fat held within fat cells and does not eliminate the cells themselves or reduce the presence of interstitial water (water between the fat cells), it is only the fat that is removed and not the water and other cellular materials when burning fat. So, while a pound of adipose tissue may only contain 3,500 calories or so, it takes an expenditure of 4,000 calories or so to lose a pound of fat. Make sense?!

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  • avatar
    June 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm
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    Zoe,
    I wanted to know what you would say yourself, or which sources you would recommend, for diets related to muscle gain, because the common wisdom in the field is that a substantial amount of carbohydrates and an abundance of protein is fundamental for muscle growth.
    Thank you

    Reply
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      June 30, 2015 at 9:02 am
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      Hi Ron
      I’m really not the right person to ask for this one. I try to help people lose weight – if you google how to build muscle there seems to be lots out there.
      The logic to me says:
      1) If you’re overweight, use a real food/managed carb diet to lose weight and your natural muscles will be revealed
      2) If you’re normal weight and want to build muscle – use them! Either down the gym or in the garden/doing natural activity.
      3) If you’re underweight and want to gain weight to try to turn that into muscle a) carbs will fatten you nicely! and then b) turn it into muscle doing activity.

      There will be an accompanying role for protein and fat in building muscle because the body needs protein and fat for all cell building/cell repair and body maintenance needs (carbs play no part in this) but how much protein and fat etc – I’m no expert.

      Happy surfing!
      Best wishes – Zoe

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      • avatar
        July 5, 2015 at 6:16 pm
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        Thank you Zoe, I will.

        One other question I did have was, I’m following your meal plan, cut out carbs and sugars, do not cross fat and carb meals, yet I’m not losing weight. :(
        I’m young, 25, so I don’t expect medical conditions to interfere so I wonder if I’m eating too much fat. I know not to count calories but somethings wrong. I don’t touch carbs, save one free day every two weeks, and my protein intake is not that high.

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          July 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm
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          Hi Ron
          The first thing we check is – are you at natural weight? Height/weight/BMI is not perfect by any means, but it’s a useful guide. Especially with the full detail of height and weight (not just BMI) and added info like waist measurement and understanding of – are you a current athlete? former athlete etc? (On the basis that most international rugby players would be obese on BMI alone).

          If you don’t have weight to lose, no healthy eating plan should cause loss!
          Bye for now – Zoe

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            July 6, 2015 at 2:25 am
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            No, my muscle content is rather average, and on top of that I have at least 30-40 pounds of weight to lose to get to 10-14% BMI (accurate).
            I am 6’0″, and 208.8 pounds.

          • avatar
            July 6, 2015 at 9:02 am
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            Hi again
            This looks like you have weight to lose but BMI does ‘work’ less well with taller people. 40lb off a 6 foot frame might not be a good look! You’re doing the right thing eating ‘clean’ and seeing what may be your natural weight.

            I wouldn’t be able to say why you’ve not lost without going into the kind of detail that we do in our club – there’s a 10,000 word article on 10 things to work through if you’ve not lost for some time in our club library (http://www.theharcombedietclub.com/forum/content.php?818-Diet-Health-Today-April-2012) and a few thousand words on Harcombe vs LCHF (http://www.theharcombedietclub.com/forum/content.php?1097-The-Harcombe-Diet-vs-LCHF). As a quick principle on your fat query – if you do HF you need to do both LC and LP. This may help http://www.homodiet.co.za/

            Good luck
            Best wishes – Zoe

  • avatar
    June 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm
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    You only have to look out my back window to see the problem. The fields are full of wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet, potatoes, barley and peas, to name the most prevalent crops. Only a few years back the farmers I know were getting £30 – £50/tonne LESS than the cost of production for their wheat. I didn’t see the price of processed carbs going down, did you? The last dairy farmer in the area gave up a few years back (he went over to grass fed beef so no great loss). Recently a new daiy farm started but they have injected a lot of capital and don’t just sell milk to the supermarkets – they deliver it to local outlets and process it into cream, ice cream etc. probably cheese will come later. The profit is all in the processing not the production.
    Apart from the above list, go look at the sponsors of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation, the British Dietetic Association, then the US equivalents, then the equivalents in other countries. Either this is a massive coincidence or there is a cartel: I know what my money’s on.
    When even some of the checkout girls in the Co-Op have noticed the fat people buying their “low fat” food and becoming relentlessly fatter, and the fit healthy old folks using the local butchers and greengrocers, one wonders why Medical Professionals have failed to notice this.

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      June 30, 2015 at 4:09 pm
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      I agree with you Chris. I live in rural Norfolk. People admire the view from my house out over the acres of wheat, barley, rapeseed, sugar beet and potatoes. I see it as an industrial landscape filled with crops that are of no real value to human nutrition. That and the fact that the fields nearest my house are sprayed with something that I would prefer not to breath up to 4 times in a season. I think this has to stop. Probably won’t be in my lifetime though, far too many vested interests at work I fear.

      Reply
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        July 1, 2015 at 11:53 am
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        Yes I’m in Suffolk so very similar. Two good things though – the sprays – and the diesel to apply them – have become so expensive many farmers think hard before using them, unlike the sixties/seventies there’s much less prophylactic spraying. Also in between the big guys are farms with niche markets – asparagus, onions, salad veg, and of course grass fed beef and sheep and free range pigs, to name but a few. My favourite Wells Alpine cheese comes from up your way. Local farmers selling direct to local shops bypass a lot of the foodlike substance manufacturing industry who take their profits out of the local economy.

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          July 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm
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          Hi Chris
          The Wells Alpine is made by Mrs Temple in Wighton which is the next village from us. We buy everything local if possible and only use the supermarkets for cleaning products and sundry cooking items. It’s not until you move away from bread, cereals, sugar and oils that you realise that most of whats grown is of little no nutritional value to humans.

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            July 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm
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            I’m going to predict that if you look in the local churchyards you will find many long lived people going back generations, as you will find here. I’m also going to predict that this will no longer occur with future generations.

  • avatar
    June 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm
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    Eatwell plate = Eathell plate.

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  • avatar
    June 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm
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    Zoe, here’s some real science on diabetes and nutrition to gladden the heart.

    The paper is called ‘Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base’. The article is dated January 2015.

    There are a number of distinguished authors beginning with Richard D. Feinman and Wendy Pogozelski.

    http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(14)00332-3/fulltext

    Reply
  • avatar
    June 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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    The ‘heresy’ trial of Professor Tim Noakes has been adjourned until November. Noakes committed the sin of tweeting advice on a low carb diet in response to a request from a mother of a young child. The amount of time spent on this tweet is astonishing. The case was adjourned after Noakes’ legal team objected to a person sitting in judgment who has voiced criticism of a low-carb diet and is a member of the same dieticians organisation whose president made the complaint. Are they totally incompetent? I predicted that they’d find a way to drop this case but it hasn’t happened yet.

    The attached link is a recent debate in South Africa between a traditional dietician and Prof. Noakes. She gives the usual high-carb view, but does concede the benefits of a low carb diet for diabetics. Most of the dieticians in the NHS can’t seem to understand that simple point. I think it’s game, set and match to Noakes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQXd6tpu5bE

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  • avatar
    June 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    Thank you Zoe for your continued exposure of the rampant hypocrisy within the so called nutritional advisory bodies here in the UK (and other countries). It is a crime that commercial organisations with a vested interest in promoting their products should influence supposedly independent organisations.
    I have children, in their teens now & I have always encouraged them to question the less factual areas of school ‘teaching’. I have never subscribed to believing the teacher is right school of thought. Teachers are human & flawed just like the rest of us. That doesn’t mean you can be badly behaved because you disagree with them, or disrespectful, but you can still hold your own opinions & beliefs. After all, teachers have to acknowledge differences in religious belief, so why shouldn’t that be the case for healthy diets & global warming? The ‘science’ on such topics is up for debate & children should be encouraged to debate, supporting their beliefs with a rational argument & evidence. Otherwise, education is pointless (in my opinion!).

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  • avatar
    June 9, 2015 at 11:56 pm
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    What a great article! And full of fascinating links (in the comments section as well). The simple fact that government officials give us “advice” on what to eat I find truly unbelievable; why is this necessary? And what on earth do these people know about nutrition- it’s not like they’ve studied the subject or anything! Interestingly, our health has gotten worse since they started giving their advice. It’s also maddening that this flawed information is infiltrating the school system. (If you’ve ever read any of John Taylor Gatto’s books, his claim is that the purpose of public schooling is to brainwash the masses at a young age, so they can be controlled and manipulated- among other reasons). I wonder if it partly has to do with the fact that many adults, like their parents, are starting to “rebel” and eat differently? Maybe this is a backlash, who knows.

    In any case, I can also vouch for the fact that the food in hospitals is appallingly bad. Years ago I was stuck in a hospital in Bristol for 6 weeks, after a serious operation. At death’s door, undernourished and very underweight, what I needed most to get better was nutrient rich, real food. But the only option for breakfast was boxed cereal….that was it! And I’m a celiac, so cereal was not an option for me. If you couldn’t eat cereal, that was just too bad. (I feel very sorry for any diabetic who finds themselves in hospital). The “Eat Badly Plate” is prevalent in every public institution, and the fact that we don’t have a choice over what we eat is frustrating!

    Reply
  • avatar
    June 6, 2015 at 9:06 pm
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    I sympathise with Bob M and the advice his daughter’s receiving from school. Of course the teacher is just repeating what she’s been told.

    A relative of mine is training to be a nurse and has had some training in nutrition. She was shocked at my low carb diet and said, “But you need carbohydrates for energy”. I pointed out that I’d done a mile’s front crawl in my swimming pool that morning without carbs. I also told her how I’d felt a physical and mental boost since ditching most carbs. I feel a little guilty because I’m contradicting her lecturers, but I think knowing the truth is more important and she will have the chance to make better decisions for herself.

    My relative is being taught by the NHS that carbs are essential. I pointed out that in, say, 1600 refined sugar didn’t exist and we didn’t eat potatoes, rice or pasta. There would obviously have been some bread and fruit in the summer, but overall it must have been pretty low carb by modern standards. If carbs are essential, how did these people manage and, for example, have the strength to draw longbows that no modern man could manage? I’m referring to the longbows found on the Mary Rose that have amazingly high draw weights.

    Zoe, I wonder if you can explain something quite strange that’s happened since I went low carb four months ago? I used to love my beer, but my consumption has unintentionally reduced and reduced. I can now barely drink half a bottle. It’s as if the taste is no longer compatible and I’m reacting against it. Obviously, not drinking beer has got to be healthier but it wasn’t my intention and it’s baffling to me, and even more so to my Irish friends! Do you have an explanation for suddenly acquired beer intolerance?

    Steve

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    • avatar
      June 7, 2015 at 9:18 am
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      Hi Steve
      You may appreciate this post on not even the brain needing carbs! https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201104/your-brain-ketones

      The beer one is really interesting. I don’t know if I can explain it but I can support the observation. We have numerous club members who have reported the same with many different substances – always wheat/sugar in some form. We have the ‘get away with it group’ who no longer habitually have beer/bread as examples and then have match day or sandwich lunch and get away with it. Others (the majority from observation) can’t get away with it any longer and feel lousy as soon as they go back to the substance.

      This book may help – usually 1p! (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-All-Mind-Richard-Mackarness/dp/0330245929) It describes a severely egg intolerant person who consumed several eggs daily and gave them up under medical supervision and then had one by mistake and had the most violent reaction – not allergy – intolerance.

      I think that sugar and flour are addictive substances (MRI scans would agree) and an addict has an incredible tolerance during consumption of the addictive substance, which then does subside when they stay away from their addiction. One foray back into the dark world can cause death with the most dangerous addictive substances. The heroin addict could tolerate large amounts of the drug, go cold turkey and then die with 1 relapse, which could be a fraction of previous intakes. Returning to alcohol can produce stronger reactions with far less than previous intake.

      You can try different beers – my hubby has this same observation – used to love his beer. He can ‘do match day’ and get away with it – sometimes he has 1 beer and doesn’t get away with it. If he loved beer that much he would experiment to see which beers are better for him and which aren’t. He sticks to red wine instead!

      Probably also a healthy body sending out a strong message – why are you putting this unhealthy stuff in me!?

      Good luck with any experiments
      Best wishes – Zoe

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        June 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm
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        Zoe, that’s very helpful and I’ll pursue the links.

        The beer ‘intolerance’ was gradual after I went low carb. As each week passed I found I was drinking less and less. Then it was none. Very odd. I shall have to become a wine bore.

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        June 8, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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        Zoe, I read the psychology item you linked with interest. The connection between mental health and diet is fascinating. My interest stems from the mental boost I felt when I went low carb.

        If I was a doctor and some skinny anxious thing came in to see me I might start by asking about his or her diet. I’ve found a number of reputable items online in psychology literature linking the low fat diet with anxiety and even depression. That would have amazed me a few months ago but I now find it credible. The items regret the link but basically say a low fat diet protects the heart, so other ill effects have to borne.

        How much harm has Ancel Keys done with his poor and selective science? Some might say fraudulent. It’s curious that his only defenders are vegetarians. Clearly they believe the diet-heart hypothesis brings in recruits and don’t want it exposed.

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      June 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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      One of our GPs said snootily that “everyone has to eat carbs or you have no energy!”. She also stated that “diabetes is always progressive, it’s the nature of the disease” without understanding the connection between these two statements. At the time she was the size of a shed.
      I was recently told by one of her patients that she had become “prediabetic” and has now lost over 40kg. I refuse to believe she could possibly have achieved this on a high carb low fat diet such as she recommended, she must be a closet low carber. I wonder what her colleagues including the “diabetes expert” think. Perhaps if more of the fat NHS staff, especially dieticians, become similarly affected they may start to question their policies.

      Reply
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    June 5, 2015 at 5:24 am
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    Always a great dissection of the b.s, Zoë.

    Pete Evans, who is a fantastic Aussie chef and co-host of ‘My Kitchen Rules’ on TV has been taking a beating by many of the food ‘authorities’ here in OZ because of his promotion of a Paleo diet and the fantastic cook-books he has out, including a beauty for kids called Bubba Yum-Yum.
    This book got ripped by the usual ‘nutritionists’ who made assertions that any parent following Pete’s recommendations would be killing their kids. You know, salt causing high blood pressure etc.

    They, his critics, have stood behind the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ guidelines as the reason to beat up Pete but that was BEFORE the new guidelines were announced. Now that the critics have egg on the faces (how Paleo is that?) I wonder what their response to Pete will be? Gee, Pete, sorry, we were wrong after all! Not likely but at least the public is getting to see that there is debate going on and it is encouraging to see how often GPs are now telling their patients that the cholesterol story is rubbish.

    Channel 9, a competing TV network did a hatchet job on Pete, summoning their experts to explain why low protein and high carbs are the only way to go. Then, as luck would have it, the headlines carried a story about how to lose weight eating chocolate. http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800
    This story tells how the authors created a bogus study to see if peer review would discern the hoax but no, peer review worked as usual and the story got published. Seriously. Then Channel 9 carried the story as a segment on their Morning Show, trumpeting the weight losing benefits of a chocolate diet. That link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9VZcME8QOI

    Channel 9 pulled the video from Youtube after the hoax was revealed (?red faces??) but we found and posted it on my website: http://www.eimc.com.au on the blog. So much for honest reporting and discriminating reporters. Apologies to Pete? Yeah, right.

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    June 4, 2015 at 10:35 am
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    When my son (now 21) was a very ill baby, we were at Great Ormond Street hospital for 2 weeks and I could never understand why, even there, the only place to sit was in the fast food cafe.

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      June 4, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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      Hi Chrissie
      It’s great to hear that you’re son made it from very ill to 21 – no thanks to the hospital food by the sounds of it! Dr Aseem Malhotra has done a lot to campaign against fast food outlets in hospitals. Rebecca Wilcox, TV presenter, also did a great prog on the subject. Who made me fat? I think it was – may be on youtube
      Best wishes – Zoe

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    June 3, 2015 at 8:25 pm
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    Personally, I find it difficult to know what to do when your child comes home discussing food propaganda. I’m in the US, where we have the “my plate” (replaced the “food pyramid”). My daughter, who is 7 and in second grade, has already had tests on MyPlate. Her teacher made a remark like “popcorn is good for you except when you put butter and salt on it”. I told my daughter her teacher was wrong. That upset my wife, who believes at 7, kids should believe the teacher is right.

    Perhaps I could say, “I believe your teacher’s statement is wrong, for the following reasons…”. Either way, I’m basically implying her teacher is wrong, but I don’t know of another way I can say this.

    Perhaps I just say that her teacher’s statement is based on guidelines from a government bureau. I believe the guidelines are not supported (and never have been supported) by scientific evidence. Furthermore, I believe the guidelines are mostly if not entirely wrong.

    But then my 7 year old has to come to grips with taking tests where her dad believes the “correct” answers are wrong. That’s tough for someone so young.

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      June 4, 2015 at 8:34 am
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      Hi Bob
      A most interesting modern dilemma!

      Personally, I think the ability to think for ourselves is taught way too late. One of my best friends teaches sixth form students (that’s 16-18 year olds over here) how to think. Up until then it seems that we tell them what to think!

      If a 7 year old is being taught bad messages, particularly some that will affect their life long health, I think that they need to know the counter good message. A bad adult will try to talk a child into leaving a safe area with them and good adults teach children not to leave with a stranger in any circumstances. They have the ability to know right from wrong quite young – maybe our modern world means they need to use it as soon as they acquire it! That makes me with you (and not your wife)! Throughout school there will surely be many messages that children receive from teachers that clash with the views of parents? I remember hearing opinions as often as facts! Politics, social views, economics – my father’s views could barely have been more different from my economics teacher! Just don’t ask dad to help with homework ;-)

      Many thanks for the comment
      Best wishes – Zoe

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        June 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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        I agree with you, Zoe, although I think for now I’m going to ignore everything until my daughter realizes what is happening. For instance, this morning, her and her sister’s breakfast was eggs, bacon, and avocado. The eggs were bought from a neighbor down the street, and the bacon is from a local farm (we bought 1/2 a pig). She doesn’t realize yet that this breakfast goes completely against the “MyPlate” propaganda.

        Once she does realize this, then I’ll bring up the topic. Until then, we’ll just go on trying to get them to eat as few carbs as possible and to eat as much whole food as possible.

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      June 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm
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      I feel for you. I took the cowards way out and never had children. I would have ended up having massive rows about the contents of packed lunches.

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    June 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    This stuff is a scandal.

    I’ve recently been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and had loads of diabetic symptoms for months. I’m 55, BMI 19 and quite fit (long-distance cyclist, runner). My diet was home-cooked everything from scratch, no junk, no ready-made, no canned drinks, plenty of fish and veg… The high blood glucose has been all down to (wholemeal/wholegrain) carbohydrates and fruit (not fruit juice; I haven’t drunk juice for years, after seeing Lustig’s video). Since dropping (brown) rice, (wholegrain) bread and (wholemeal) pasta, plus all large/tropical fruit (esp. bananas, pears, oranges, grapes; now eating lots of berries), my HbA1c has dropped dramatically in 3 weeks. My GP does not understand how I have achieved this drop, so suddenly. She is fixated on the eatwell story. But the problem with my diet was the carbs, whatever the source, and however brown they are.

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      June 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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      Snap! I had what I now know to be symptoms of diabetes and conditions that are “common in diabetics” including reactive hypoglycemia ever since childhood. My lipids were already appalling in my twenties (including cholesterol gallstones) although I was and still am skinny. My BP went south in middle age, and to address that and the low HDL, high LDL and sky high trigs (known as diabetic dyslipidemia for a good reason) I was sent to a dietician who was obsessed with cutting out fat and replacing it with more carbs. This left me semipermanently exhausted, constantly hungry, my lipids got worse and I gained 15 kg all around my gut. Obviously I was then accused of “failing to comply” with the diet.
      Eventually after moving I saw what appeared to be a semi-sensible GP who diagnosed “just a touch of prediabetes” and gave me exactly the same diet. Only I went online and discovered what well controlled diabetics actually do and did the same. I lost the weight in short order, my BG normalised, my BP dropped, my HDL DOUBLED and my trigs fell to A TENTH of what they were.
      No, I’m not boasting, this is actually so commonplace as to be unremarkable, except to medical professionals. For ten years now I’ve been limiting my carbs to around 50g/day, severely restricting sugar, wheat and trans fats, reducing all other starches and Omega 6 oils and eating lots of grass fed meat, game, fish and vegetables of all colours.
      This has worked so well I have now been told there was never anything wrong with me. You just can’t win . . .

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    June 3, 2015 at 8:46 am
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    The appalling Eatwell Plate is heavily promoted by Public Health departments when funding community health programmes, so its not just in schools that the damage is being done – its in many of the community programmes too. Unfortunately its not just the official guardians of our nutritional health aka dietitians – swathes of volunteers (often known as health trainers) with little knowledge but plenty of official advice are teaching many of the programmes. The Change4Life work is a perfect example of what is being taught to many, many groups and just one look at the information on breakfasts shows just how badly wrong much of the information is. ( http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/supporter-resources/downloads/B4L_Good_Breakfast_Guide_acc.pdf )

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        June 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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        Yes, its also pretty ironic that The Times today reports on Simon Stevens calling on food companies (such as those ones that have their products on the Eatwell plate)to reduce the sugar content in their foods.
        You couldn’t make it up.

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      June 3, 2015 at 6:59 pm
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      OMG, that is diabolical. Really, the work the work of the devil.

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    June 2, 2015 at 8:38 am
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    I would like to see Nutrition being taught properly in schools by trained Nutritional Therapists.
    Just as French and Music are taught separately but as part of the curriculum.
    I personally think Nutrition is as important as Maths & English (having been a primary school teacher for 20 years), after all, it is the basis of life itself and vital to disease prevention.
    I am now doing an MSc in Nutritional Science and I’m passionate about getting this message through to parents & children at an early stage.
    Although parents by the food, it is more often the children who demand what they want!

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      June 2, 2015 at 8:45 am
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      “buy” sorry.

      I wish Nicky Morgan was more open minded, perceptive and educationally aware of the current situation and health crisis…it could be the making of her, if she were to implement such a strategy in schools!!

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      June 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm
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      Rachel, if children were taught nutrition in schools, what do you think the curriculum would be? It would be the ‘Eatwell Plate’. Better to teach nothing than the current foolishness.

      If parents let children ‘demand’ what they want, they are spineless. I know it’s not always easy, but it’s a parent’s job to do what’s right, not what’s popular.

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    June 1, 2015 at 10:46 pm
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    So Britain lost WWII- Fascism is thriving! I agree that sticking to sardines, and eggs would benefit young adults as they have to afford to feed themselves. Home moved away from me whilst I was in 4 th year medical school and I had to learn to feed myself. My digs had minimal cooking equipment. I used to boil a glass bowl of skim milk and oats (I was a food pyramid zombie), make sandwiches from canned salmon and salad. After a few failed experiments (mars bars for tea!), I was intuitively eating quite well. I did not have the money to buy processed food-.

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  • avatar
    June 1, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    People did not need Eat Well Plates in the past and do not use them now in traditional societies like the Innuits and Masai.
    As a GP I see the harm that our so-called balanced western diet does. I saw the Masai people who came to Llangollen a few years back and I observed they were slim and strong and tall. I saw the Viet people and how they ate none of our modern food, and it was 13 days before I saw an overweight person.
    Let us work together to stop this “Eat Well Plate” madness.

    Reply

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