More information about text formats
This editorial is misleading. Claiming that the Eatwell Guide is not
evidence based is factually wrong. The Guide is based on comprehensive
expert reviews of the evidence undertaken by the independent Scientific
Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) which advises government, and its
predecessor, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy.
The latest revisions to the Eatwell Guide were i...
The latest revisions to the Eatwell Guide were informed by SACN's
2015 evidence review on carbohydrates and health which included 600 recent
research papers. The report halved the maximum sugar levels we should be
consuming. It also recommended that we should eat more fibre from fruits,
vegetables and pulses. Moreover, the Eatwell Guide's proposals are in line
with the international evidence-base and recommendations of organisations
such as the World Health Organization.
Harcome blames the Eatwell Guide and its predecessors for the
dramatic increases in obesity and diabetes which have occurred since the
1970s, based on highly tenuous correlations. She naively assumes that we
as a population are meeting the current guidelines, when in fact survey
data of nutrition intakes show the opposite to be true. For example, 87%
of UK adults are eating too much sugar, 74% are failing to consume 5
portions of fruit and vegetables a day, 68% are eating too much salt and
66% are eating too much saturated fat.1
The reason why levels of some diet-related diseases are on the rise
is not because the guidelines are wrong. It is because our food
environment is not supportive of healthy eating.
This article is unhelpful because it will generate public and
professional confusion, and undermine confidence in the government's
evidence-based Eatwell Guide to healthy eating.
1. NatCen Social Research, MRC Human Nutrition Research & University
College London Medical School, 2015a. National Diet and Nutrition Survey
Years 1-4, 2008/09-2011/12. [data collection]. 7th Edition. UK
No financial or industry funding links to declare.
Dr Mwatsama is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health), and was a member of the Expert Reference Group which oversaw the review of Public Health England's Eatwell guidelines for healthy eating.