Changes to the National Food Guide 2016

I believe and follow a balanced diet and seek all client recommendations from Government and NHS guidelines. In March 2016, the Government made important changes to ‘The eatwell plate’ to try and help manage the increasing dietary problems we face in the UK. The main change to ‘The eatwell guide’ is the removal of some of some foods from the food group segments.

eatwell plate

At first glance it does not look that different so I’ll summarise the key changes for you:

  • Food group segments resized. The segment sizes of the food groups have been adjusted to reflect current government advice on a healthy balanced diet.
  • The purple segment now only contains ‘oils and spreads’. The new Eatwell Guide differentiates unsaturated oils (such as vegetable /olive) and lower fat spreads from other foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. This is because some fat is essential in a healthy balanced diet, but other foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar are not and should be eaten less often and in small amounts. The small size of the purple section reflects the fact that oils and spreads are high fat and contain a lot of calories, so these should only be consumed in small amounts.
  • High fat, salt and sugar foods have been removed from the purple section. Foods high in fat and/or sugar, which previously featured in the purple section of the eatwell plate, have now been placed outside of the main image. Consumer research highlighted that the removal of these products from the main image aided consumer understanding of the role of these foods and drinks in the diet, as products to be consumed infrequently and in small amounts. It was also found that having these food products outside of the main image helped consumers to reflect the need to move their overall intakes towards a healthier lifestyle whilst feeling that the Eatwell Guide was an achievable target for their food consumption habits.
  • Inclusion of a hydration message. Keeping hydrated is part of a healthy diet and so the Eatwell Guide reinforces fluid recommendations and the best drinks to choose – water, low fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee.
  • Inclusion of a front of pack nutrition label. A front of pack nutrition label has been added to the guide to respond to consumer comments regarding the lack of guidance on choosing foods lower in fat, salt and sugars when shopping. As there are several variations of the front of pack label, an amalgamation of the most commonly used features of the front of pack nutrition label was used on the Eatwell Guide to represent the information available on a variety of packaged foods.
  • Fruit juice has been removed from the fruit and vegetable segment. Although fruit juice (at a maximum of 150ml/day) still counts towards one of your 5-a-day, the advice around drinks has been encompassed with the hydration message on the new Eatwell Guide.

Your food intake should include food from all food group segments to ensure a balanced and sustainable diet. Portion size and number of foods within each group can be confusing. Fit + Fabulous can help you get the right balance to ensure you are getting all your essential vitamins and minerals and maintain a healthy weight. Get in touch!

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