BANT responds to Government's plans to shrink junkfood, as part of the obesity campaign

Posted On: 
18th August 2017

The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) welcomes Public Health England’s plans to engage in further work with food manufacturers to cut sugar in cakes, biscuits and chocolate by 20 per cent by 2020. 

Public Health officials said they will now work with the food industry to agree plans to tackle “excess calorie consumption” in a host of savoury foods - especially those regularly consumed by children.

BANT Chair Miguel Toribio-Mateas said “As a leading non-governmental organisation with over 2,300 members accredited by the Professional Standards Authority to deliver nutrition advice, BANT is looking forward to being involved in the public consultation to help draw up the calorie reduction programme.

I’d like to emphasise how disheartening it is, however, that taxpayers are funding public health work that focuses entirely on lowering calorie content. Reducing the size of pizzas may seem like an honourable move, but what is to stop an individual buying 2 smaller ones?” Toribio-Mateas continued: “The main issue that BANT has been highlighting for years is the fact that population-based dietary guidelines such as the Eatwell Guide are inherently flawed on a number of bases. Firstly, they are based on computer-generated models, as recently confirmed by Dr Louis Levy of Public Health England. Secondly, these computer “guesstimates” are all that Public Health England have to set an arbitrary high percentage of daily intake of carbohydrate, around 50% of total calories, most of it starch, which is akin to sugar. There is no real evidence from randomised controlled trials on the Eatwell Guide versus another dietary pattern that these guidelines are the basis of a “balanced health diet”, as we’ve been led to believe by Public Health officials for years.

Dr Levy and Dr Tedstone have been invited to comment on how different individuals have different levels of tolerance to carbohydrates and how this affects their ability to stay lean or to lose weight if they’re overweight. They’ve both rejected to comment on the matter. It is disappointing that Public Health officials are not willing to engage in healthy dialogue with stakeholders such as BANT about matters that affect the health of the nation. Public Health England keeps defaulting to “one-size-fits-all” models of nutrition advice that can never meet the needs of every single individual in the country. One could argue they’ve actually contributed to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes (type 2) we’re experiencing.

BANT members are uniquely trained to individualise their nutrition advice so that it tackles the need of the person they’re working with, instead of following a handout generated by a computer programme."

The most common reasons people seek nutritional advice is to address weight loss and/ or for general health and wellbeing. These issues are addressed by BANT with the following:

The, clear, concise format of the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines enables people to see easily what food choices they should be making.  More detailed information is also given to guide people in how to make these choices and which other lifestyle factors they should be addressing.

Key advice provided by the BANT Wellbeing Guidelines includes the following:

  • Weight Loss or General Health and Wellbeing: Everyone is unique but whatever your goal similar nutritional principles and health and wellbeing guidelines will apply.
  • Eat a Rainbow: a varied diet of 7 differently coloured fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Stay hydrated with water, herbal teas, green and black teas.  Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks and too much caffeine
  • Ensure protein is lean: fish, poultry, eggs and vegetable sources.  Limit red and processed meat.
  • Include healthy fats: avocados, nuts, olive oil. Cook with healthy saturated fats: coconut oil and butter.
  • Choose root vegetables and whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates and grains:  Eat sparingly.
  • For Weight Loss: include exercise, limit portion sizes, don’t eat between meals. Avoid: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
  • Include the right supplements: vitamin D, in particular, for most people and probiotics as advised by your Registered Nutritional Therapist
  • Sleep and Exercise are an important aspect in overall Health and Wellbeing and Weight Management.