Eatwell Guide is updated

By Editor
14th April 2016
Department of Health, Education Food Good practice Latest news

Guidelines which lay out the ideal healthy diet have been updated to include more starchy carbohydrates.

Public Health England’s Eatwell Guide is a policy tool which is used to define government recommendations on eating healthily and achieving a balanced diet.

The revised guide, which replaces the eatwell plate, now gives greater prominence to fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates, preferably wholegrain.

Public Health England recommends consuming 30 grams of fibre a day which is the same as eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, two whole-wheat cereal biscuits, two thick slices of wholemeal bread and one large baked potato with the skin on.

Diabetes management

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our new Eatwell Guide helps people to understand what a healthy balanced diet looks like.

“The evidence shows that we should continue to base our meals on starchy carbohydrates, especially wholegrain, and eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day.

“On the whole, cutting back on foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories would improve our diets, helping to reduce obesity and the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and some cancers.

“A smoothie, together with fruit juice, now only counts as one of your five a day and should be drunk with a meal as it’s high in sugar.

However, Sital Harris who is a nutritional therapist and part of the Diabetes and You medical advisory board, said: “The new guide is good and sets out each food group, however, for a person with diabetes, the portions or carbohydrates may need adjustment to accommodate the individuals diabetes management.

“Diabetes is a condition where carbohydrates cannot be metabolised.  This new Eatwell Guide does not factor health conditions such as diabetes. Individuals do need to seek further advice.

I encourage professionals helping people to follow a healthy, balanced diet to use the new Eatwell Guide which will help reduce their risk of developing long term illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers

“Diet is an important factor in the successful management of diabetes, diet is further complicated by the many marketing messages individual face when shopping for food.

“I would always recommend a personal nutritional plan because diabetes management is personal, foods affect individuals in different ways, therefore a standard guide may not always be appropriate.”

Dr Lisa Jackson, representing the Association for Nutrition and chair of the external reference groups supporting Public Health Englandin this work, said: “As a GP it is important that I have engaging and meaningful resources like the Eatwell Guide to support my patients to eat more healthily.

“I encourage professionals helping people to follow a healthy, balanced diet to use the new Eatwell Guide which will help reduce their risk of developing long term illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

Sugary soft drinks have been removed from the image and foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar have been moved to the periphery of the guide, reflecting advice that they are not an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Adults should have less than six grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men a day.

PHE also advises limiting the consumption of sugar, for example from sugary drinks and confectionery.

Adults have twice as much sugar as is recommended and children have over three times. Everyone over the age of 11 should consume less than 30 grams or seven cubes of sugar a day.

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