This week, the Public Health Collaboration released a report on the guidance of healthy eating. It’s had a lot of media attention and the nation are divided on the report findings. Some argue, it’s confusing and contradicts what we have previously been told, whilst other are supportive of the new suggestions.
The media have jumped on the report and have heavily criticised the Public Health Collaboration. Some have argued that the report is misleading to the public and it’s irresponsible. Here are a few headlines
BBC News- “Public Health England: Advice to eat more fat ‘irresponsible’
Telegraph- Eat fat to get thin: Official diet advice is disastrous for obesity fight, new report warns.
The Public Health Collaboration is a non-profitable volunteer organization. The report offers guidance for weight loss, healthy eating and a solution on how to reduce diseases such as; type II diabetes and obesity. To back up their findings they use up to date, scientific evidence.
Diabetes and obesity are on the rise in the UK. The cost of both diseases is estimated around £16 billion a year costing the UK economy around £47 billion a year.
The Public Health Collaboration reviewed the Eat-Well Guide. The latest edition was updated on the 17th March 2016. The Eat-well guide is a suggested guidance published by the department of health issued under the government guidance.
The Eat-well guidance is summarised below
Plenty of fruit & vegetables (at least 5 portions a day)
Plenty of Potatoes, Bread, Rice, Pasta and Starchy Carb
Some dairy products choosing low-fat products
Some fish,eggs, beans, and pulses
A small amount of high fat/sugar foods.
Limit the intake of salt
Choose unsaturated oils and spreads in small amounts
Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day
Fruit juices/smoothies should be limited to 150ml a day.
The report published by the Public Health Collaboration criticises the Eat Well Balance report and instead focuses their report on the three points below;
Saturated fats content and the avoidance of particular foods
Only allowing 35% of total fats in the diet
carbohydrates quality v quantity
The report hints there is a lack of substantial evidence to suggest that saturated fats are correlated to the deterioration of people’s health in the UK. Instead quite the opposite, the blame is placed on unnatural man-made low-fat products. The report encourages the public to consume food in its natural form, and not to worry about the RDA of fat intake.
The quality and quantity of carbohydrates are discussed in-depth. The types of carbohydrates put into the body are important, the report suggests that there should be an avoidance of high carbohydrate density; instead, carbohydrate density should be less than 25%.
‘The Real Food Lifestyle’ diagram is used to illustrate the changes recommended by the Public Health Collaboration team. It has a similar look to the Eat Well guideline, but it’s focusing on having no maximum recommended daily allowance limits. The Eat Well Guidance focuses on maximum percentages, whereas The Real Food Lifestyle switches their approaches to recommending a minimum percentage food intake.
Again, there the focus is placed on eating real foods, eliminating the fake unnatural foods and not being fixated on counting calories. It’s recommended that protein should increase from 0.75g to 1g per kilogram of total body weight and that fat intake should be at a minimum of 40g for men and 30g for a woman with no upper limit.
The Real Food Lifestyle diagram has two main food groups; fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, which are divided into two sections; high-density carbs on the left and low-density carbs on the right. Drinks and oils are outside of the diagram. The idea of the diagram is to show how food comes in its natural form. Recommended oils are; coconut, olive oil, and butter, they should be rich in monounsaturated fats or saturated fats.
Natural drinks are encouraged.
The real food lifestyle promotes flexibility, variety and encourages people to maintain a healthy and balanced diet by eating foods in its natural form and avoiding fake none nutritional food.
There is an in-depth section in the report, which offers advice on how to lose weight. It suggests that people should concentrate on the types of carbohydrates they put into their body, and it recommends focussing on a low carbohydrate diet. People who want to lose weight should consume less than 130g of carbohydrates a day, including 30g of fibre, non-starchy carbohydrates should be chosen over starchy carbohydrates. There is also a warning of excessive eating of nuts; there is an RDA of a handful roughly around a 100g a day.
Diet is not the only focus in the weight-loss section; external factors such as; an active lifestyle, sleep and stress and quantity.
Personally, I’m a fan of the new report conducted by the Public Health collaboration and their contribution of ‘The Real Food Lifestyle’ Diagram. I think this approach is positive; it’s been conducted by a group of volunteers who are looking for a sensible and sustainable situation, external parties do not influence their findings.
I have never encouraged clients to count calories, for me counting calories is disastrous, people will choose food based on a number of calories, oppose to nutritional goodness and value. Foods based on low calories will consequently have minimum nutritional value.
Many critics have questioned the Public Health Collaboration real food lifestyle solution because of their minimum recommendations of fat. I’m in agreements with the report with their findings regarding low-fat products; I think low-fat products are a contributor to weight gain. Low-fat products are filled with sweeteners and are simply bad for us, they’re much more unhealthy than good fats. Good fat versus bad fat is the problem here; the media have blown it out of proportion. The report isn’t promoting the public to indulge in trans-fats such as; crisps, pastries, and biscuits, instead they’re encouraging the public to increase the essential fats intake, which includes; nuts, oily fish, and certain oils.
Over-consumption of carbohydrates is a key reason for weight gain. If you’re not burning off more than consumed than carbs will turn into fat. I think that the public should be encouraged to cut the amount of carbohydrates they consume, this is supported well in this report.
The section on weight-loss is very contemporary for today’s society. They discuss the types of diet they urge for weight loss, alongside external factors that can influence weight loss or weight gain. This type of approach is the way forward as it’s not exclusive to diet. Diet is important for weight loss, but a lack of sleep and a lack of exercise are an extra contributor.
Overall, I feel that this report is well-balanced, sustainable and contemporary for today’s society. Choosing foods in their natural form and including essential fats in the diet will help to contribute to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.