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Designed by the food industry for wealth, not health: the ‘Eatwell Guide’
  1. Zoe Harcombe
  1. Correspondence to Zoe Harcombe, University of the West of Scotland, Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, Paisley ML3 0JB, Renfrewshire, UK; Zoe.Harcombe{at}

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The Balance of Good Health, a picture of a segmented plate, was launched by the UK Department of Health in 1994. In September 2007, this was relaunched by the Food Standards Agency as the Eatwell Plate. The changes were cosmetic. In March 2016, the Eatwell Plate was relaunched as the Eatwell Guide. Many of the changes were, again, cosmetic (figure 1).

Figure 1

The Eatwell Guide.

The Eatwell Guide was formulated by a group appointed by Public Health England, consisting primarily of members of the food and drink industry rather than independent experts.

What changed?

The Eatwell Plate became the Eatwell Guide; the knife and fork disappeared; the segment names were tweaked and the images on the plate became drawings, not photographs—looking even less like real food. None of this would have any impact on epidemics of obesity or type 2 diabetes.

The segment proportions changed: starchy foods increased from 33% to 38%; fruit and vegetables from 33% to 40%; ‘milk and dairy’ …

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  • Twitter Follow Zoe Harcombe at @zoeharcombe

  • Competing interests ZH receives income from writing and from two small self-employment businesses: The Harcombe Diet Co and Columbus Publishing.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.