The UK diet – then and now

Last week’s papers were full of details about how the UK diet has changed over the years. The BBC covered the changes in much detail here. The period in focus was 1974-2000 and the stories appeared because the data has just been released in a more open format.

The reality is that the data has always been there – I examined the data from the exact same period (1974-2000) in my 2010 book The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? Why was this period of interest? Because it largely covered the period during which obesity increased from 2.7% in UK men and women (1972) to 22.6% in men and 25.8% in women (1999) (Ref 1).

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.

In this hopefully handy summary note, I’ll first share the major differences between what we ate back in 1974 and what we ate at the turn of the new millennium. Then, I’ll share the precise breakdown of what we are eating now – or at least in 2014 – as close to now as we have the data for...

 

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