Most treats will be off limits and replaced with wholegrain and vegetables if health officials act on recommendations from British scientific advisers.
According to British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’, nutritionists have commented that people conforming to the new guidelines would need to make “extreme changes” to their diets Adults and children should halve the amount of sugar they consume and eat almost twice as much pasta, potato and other fibrous foods, according to an official report.
In a bid to tackle an epidemic of obesity and tooth decay, the British Department of Health will be urged by its scientific advisers to reduce the amount of sugar allowed in the official definition of a healthy diet. The recommendations, which follow a seven-year inquiry, will result in the first changes to public nutrition guidance on sugar since 1991 and will fuel the debate about whether sugary food and drink should be more heavily taxed. People could be told by ministers to ensure that no more than 5 per cent of their energy comes from sugars, down from 10 per cent, including those naturally present in honey, fruit juice and other foods. Adults will also be advised to increase significantly the amount of fibre they eat, raising the quantity from 18g a day to 30g.
The proposed limit on sugar, 25g for women and 35g for men, is the equivalent of a single can of coca-cola a day – and no other sugary food at all. The suggested thresholds will leave almost no space for treats and will require the consumption of eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day, rather than the five recommended now.
A weekly diet plan based on meeting the recommendations included no fizzy drinks. The British Nutrition Foundation said only very low or zero calorie versions might be squeezed in by people who sacrificed food elsewhere.
Its analysis found space for just four squares of dark chocolate, two chocolate biscuits and a small packet of crisps as “treats” allowed during a normal week. To meet the larger fibre recommendations, most people would naturally turn to wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals, and pasta, it said. But eating large quantities of these foods would push most people above the targets for salt, sugar and overall energy intake. So most people would have little option but to eat far more fruit and vegetables than they do today.
Tea and coffee would need to be unsweetened and taken with semiskimmed milk rather than full fat. Healthy snacks included a handful of unsalted nuts and raisins one day and a plain scone with low-fat spread on another. Two glasses of wine were allowed during the week and deserts consisted of fruit most days.
There was space for a small chocolate mousse one day, and a spiced rice pudding on Sunday. Sara Stanner, a Director of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “We wanted to give people some helpful, practical advice on what the likely new recommendations could mean for their diets. “The models we created found the targets are achieved through a balanced, healthy diet – but it is one that looks very different from the diets we have today.” (Source: firstname.lastname@example.org)