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Press releases

We cannot fix the diet-induced chronic disease crisis without first empowering the nation with dietary guidelines that are fit for purpose!

British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT)

2 min read Partner content

BANT 2024 Election Manifesto – A call for change!

Public understanding of nutrition is at an all time low with a 2020 study in the BMJ revealing that less than 0.1 percent of the UK population currently achieve the national Eatwell Guidelines, last updated in 20161.

Since then, there has been a dramatic rise in chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), cancer, and mental health.

Public health guidance is based on population-wide recommendations. Given the estimated 50% of the population already suffering from chronic conditions, the guidelines are simply no longer fit for purpose, and do not apply2.

UK guidance has fallen behind other developed nations in providing science-based dietary recommendations based on optimal nutrient-needs, and sustainability alongside environmental considerations. Experts point to lessons to be learnt from countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Brazil3. There is greater confusion than ever about what to eat.

Lack of funding and investment in advertising campaigns to deliver national guidelines mean the majority of people in the UK are likely unfamiliar with the Eatwell Guide. Perhaps the 5-a-day campaign on fruits and vegetables being the only message to have hit home, and still this is far from being met.

It is also unsurprising that so few people follow the Eatwell Guide as it never came with an education campaign, is now old hat, only dealt with so-called healthy foods, and said nothing about unhealthy foods. The result of this being that the average UK diet is now  composed of more than 50% ultra processed foods and drinks4.

BANT calls on Political Parties to:

  • Review and update the Eatwell Guide (under consultation) using the latest science-based nutritional recommendations on; animal and plant proteins, carbohydrates and sugars, unhealthy versus essential fatty acids, along with portion guidance and serving suggestions.
  • Fund a full programme of dedicated resources and through-the-line communications to properly disseminate the guidelines on a national level.
  • Aid compliance with education on how to adapt the general population guidance to better suit the individual.
  • Fund group programmes throughout the NHS for overweight, obese, pre-diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, young families, menopause, and over 60s.

We have seen too little joined-up thinking on policy pertaining to diet, nutrition and diet-related chronic disease. At the very least, we need to empower the nation with dietary guidelines that make sense, are based on current science, and promote health and wellbeing in an increasingly unhealthy population.

Download the full manifesto here or access our online flipbook.



Associated Organisation