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New British calorie guidelines

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD,March 5, 2018

According to the Public Health England, Britain needs to go on a diet with immediate effect to curb the obesity epidemic. The PHE has come up with its new calorie guidelines that would cut the sizes of the meals and remove junk foods. This comes under the newly launched ‘One You’ campaign.

Aim for 400-600-600

The PHE states that Britons need to restrict their breakfasts to 400 calories and their lunches at 600 calories each. The new slogan is “400-600-600”.While some believe these ceilings could be too low for growing children, experts warn that with rising trends of kids getting overweight and obese, these war rations might just be the right prescription.

According to these new guidelines, all junk and calorie rich foods such as Fish and Chips, pasta, processed meats, pizzas, cakes etc. need to be cut down. Duncan Selbie, chief executive at PHE said in a statement, “Britain needs to go on a diet… The simple truth is on average we need to eat less. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories and it’s why so many are overweight or obese.”

The PHE has given the food industry six years to bring down their calorie counts in the food items meant for families by 20 percent. If the companies fail to adhere to these new guidelines, the PHE would make their names public and reprimand them suitably, they warn. To reduce calories, they could reduce portion sizes, make lower calorie versions and reformulate their food items, the PHE says. This includes regularly processed and manufactured foods such as sauces, meats, ready meals, sandwiches, pizzas and breads. According to experts like Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, these form a major part of daily family diet. She added that all foods available need to change rather than providing a few healthy options. “We have more obese children in than ever before. We have moved on from (obesity) affecting a small section of society. It’s the norm now,” she said adding that one in five kids are now obese. These kids are eating as much as 500 calories per day while adults consume around 200 to 300 extra calories per day.

The PHE predicts that if this 20 percent cuts rule can be implemented within the next half decade, then over the next quarter of a century over 35,000 premature deaths could be prevented and the healthcare expenditure would be saved by £9 billion. At present the recommendations suggest 2,500 calories a day for men and 2,000 calories for women. The present guidelines allow for only 1600 calories. While some experts believe this is a step in the right direction, yet other are skeptical about the rations.

The PHE is spending £3.5 million on this One You campaign that urges people to look after their health more and eat better and lose weight. The campaign also focuses on healthy exercise and regular physical activity as a means to improve health.

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