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Is the 'Eatwell Plate' still relevant for the UK today?

The need for the tool development arose from a dissatisfaction with the current one-size-fits-all public health approach using the government’s 20-year old model of the Balance of Good Health represented by the ‘Eatwell’ Plate and ‘5-a-day’. The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) took the opportunity to take a critical look at the Eatwell Plate/dietary guidelines to address the inadequacies of theone-size-fits all approach, particularly with regard to its applicability to those who are overweight or obese.

What are the problems with the Eatwell Plate?

  • It is applied not just to healthy weight people but also to those who are already overweight or obese.
  • There is no evidence that any processed foods and drinks high in fat and sugar should be recommended as dietary advice. This is even more important for those who are overweight/obese and/or with impaired blood sugar control.
  • All fruits and vegetables are not the equal.
  • Milk and dairy foods: whilst these are important it is not clear why the products of one animal should constitute a ‘food group’ other than to reflect a food industry reality.
  • There is no evidence that overweight/obese people should eat ‘plenty of bread, rice, potatoes and pasta’ even if it is wholegrain.

Further recommendations are that the 5 food groups should be consumed as follows:

  • bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods - 33%
  • fruit and vegetables - 33%
  • milk and dairy foods - 15%
  • meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein - 12%
  • foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar - 8%

There is no reliable evidence that any individual should follow a diet with these percentages rather only potentially for national diet researchers to use these percentages to determine whether the nation, or populations, are eating healthily as a whole.


What do we need from our diet?

Nutrients and other food components influence the function of the body, protect against disease, restore health, and determine people’s response to changes in the environment. BANT has developed two plates pulling together the latest dietary, and some lifestyle, advice for healthy living, including mental health. The versions of the plates will be launched in March 2015 so look out for these soon!

If you would like to find out more about nutrition or have any questions about what you should be eating, whether it be for weight loss, a sporting event or more, give our expert in-house nutritionist a call! You can check out some tips on our website right here or simply call 0871 200 5060!

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