Apart from the message that we are fat because we ‘eat too much and don’t exercise enough’, we have also been told that we must follow a balanced diet which is best represented as the Eat Well Plate. Is this right?
The Eat Well Plate is the creation of the Food Standards Agency and can be found here.
It can be summarised as follows:
Base your meal on starchy carbohydrates (sometimes mis-described as fibre), reduce our fat intake (especially saturated fats) and sugar intake.
Interestingly, the Eat Well Plate puts fruit and fruit juice into the same category as vegetables, but we will leave this oversight for another rant. Every diet and health company in the UK (with the exception of Natural Ketosis Company, other low carb companies and health advisers) has followed this mantra. Indeed, Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and the NHS share this same view that the Eat Well Plate is the best representation of a ‘healthy diet’. Think of all the so-called experts who have sat in front of their patients, clients, customers etc. simply repeating the message that the Eat Well Plate works, as the UK’s obesity numbers soar.
In a desperate effort to open the debate on the Eat Well Plate, the founder of the Natural Ketosis Company, Hannah Sutter, wrote a book arguing that the Eat Well Plate has caused the obesity crises. Big Fat Lies was published in 2011. On publication, Hannah received unpleasant messages from many, including the Food Standards Agency, suggesting that Big Fat Lies was an inaccurate account of the Obesity Crisis and the UK healthy Eating Guidelines.
Here is an extract from the blog by Andrew Wadge (Chief Scientist at the Food Standards Agency) on Big Fat Lies.
Government advice to eat a healthy balanced diet based on a range of foods, in roughly the right proportions, is however realistic for the long-term. I’m surprised that Ms Sutter didn’t consider that perhaps it’s the people who aren’t following government advice are ones who are getting fatter.
Read more here.
Some 2 years later, hidden deep in minutes of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which advises both the Food Standards Agency and the very opinionated Andrew Wadge, is a strong indication that the Eat Well Plate may well now need to be changed.
Here is an extract from the minutes.
The current DRV for total carbohydrate is based on recommendations to reduce fat intake and not on evidence studying the effects of intakes at different amounts… Changes to the total carbohydrate value would affect the fat and protein values therefore it would be difficult to alter it without considering the evidence base on other macronutrients.
What is important is that the change to carbohydrate level will imply a rise in protein and fats which is also long overdue – something Natural Ketosis has been promoting for over 8 years!
The only disappointment is the delay of the official announcement, from April this year to April 2014, which means another year of the UK population being given misleading advice. Perhaps that delay is due to consumer-goods company Unilevers’ long arm of influence but more about that later this year.
So the good news is that someone in authority has had the courage to review their own recommendations and consider a change. What will be interesting is how fast they bring in the change and how quickly they can change the thinking of all the health experts out there who have been so supportive of the Eat Well Plate.
We also wonder if they will apologise?