Well, Public Health England published a new Eat Well plate guideline last week. About time, the previous one was hugely out of date. The old version looks like this. Without even dissecting the rest it should definitely not have included sugar! No one NEEDS sugar in their diet!
So new one looks like this.
It sparked massive debate online with PT’s , I didn’t get involved there is far too much bi!*hing and d!*k measuring so it’s just amusing to spend 5 minutes reading the fall out and getting a feel for people’s opinions on it.
Then I just form my own opinion anyway.
To be fair, it is a whole lot better than the previous one. The removal of sugar for one but also the guideline booklet goes into much more detail about reading labels and looking out for added sugars and salt etc.
However……………………..I still think the protein content should be higher and the carb section smaller. I don’t agree that meals should be based around starch. I think many people would be better basing meals around protein, adding more veg and then a small portion of starch. There is actually no mention of poultry (other than its picture). White fish is not in the least bit unhealthy even if you ate it most days but perhaps this has something to do with the over farming of the ocean? I also think suggesting low fat dairy is a mistake. There is nothing unhealthy with the full fat version! And the spreads? Please just buy butter and use less of it I promise your body will thank you for it! It does suggest this in the guideline booklet but I don’t think most people will read that they will just see the plate with a margarine advert on it.
What I will say though, is Public Health England have a difficult job trying to convert the terrible eating habits of an increasingly overweight nation. They realistically have to make it easy to understand and manageable for people who may not be particularly interested in nutrition and are just trying to feed their families on a budget every week. What I think comes across in this plate is a way of lowering peoples calorie intake overall, which as mentioned is kinda the key factor in weight loss. So cutting out Fat at 9 calories per gram would have an effect, but Protein has 4 calories per gram the same as Carbohydrates. I can only think that the smaller protein suggestion is down to them being concerned that the general population if told that eating a lot of meat is ok would continue to eat a lot of processed meat which would only lead to higher fat and salt etc., so it’s best to say eat less? I don’t know, there is no explanation on this, but I think protein is an extremely important part of our diet as it is used for muscle and cell repair along with being our biggest source of B Vitamins – vegetarians in particular struggle with insufficient B12 which is a huge cause of fatigue.
Do I think its optimal nutrition? Not really but it has to be said that many people eat far worse than the eat well plate suggests, so if they used these guidelines they would be a whole lot better off.
Now you guys read this every week so you know better don’t you!
Take away points.
- Eat some protein at every meal! Eggs, lean poultry, fish, beans whatever.
- Unless you are eating a lot of dairy (milk in tea and coffee etc.) and it is therefore a total calorie issue just use full fat and benefit from the nutrition it provides!
- Continue to eat all your vegetables and fruit of all colours-Eat a rainbow people!
- You can still eat starch, I’m not saying don’t, but most people don’t need to base their diet on it.
- Do include some saturated fat, just from healthy sources like coconut oil, avocado and unprocessed red meat (read eat the steak just not for every meal!)
- Check your food labels for sugar content. You don’t actually need it at all!
- And remember we are all different, what feels optimal for you and has you firing on all cylinders may not be optimal for the guy sat next to you-no matter what the government said! So eat to feel healthy and energetic whatever calorie or macronutrient breakdown that may be. I guarantee it will be when most of your diet comes from whole, unprocessed foods of various carbs, fats and proteins.