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A Summary of the Latest Government Guidelines on Healthy Eating

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The new Eatwell guide which was launched in March 2016 states that a healthy diet should include more fruit, vegetables and starchy carbs with more sugary foods and drinks being cut out of the diet. The Eatwell guide is the replacement for the Eatwell plate, to reflect the new dietary recommendations given in a SACN report in 2015. There is a much higher level of fruit, veg and starchy carbs with a preference for wholegrain carbohydrates in the newest guide, with recommendations for 30g of fibre which is equivalent to 5 portions of fruit and veg, 2 thick-cut slices of wholemeal bread or a large baked potato.

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According to public health England most of the population eat less than two thirds of the daily recommendation. Sugary drinks have been removed from the new guide completely with foods high in fat sugar and salt being moved in such a way that the guide reflects that they aren’t essential for maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. An adult should consume less than 6g of salt per day and 20-30g of saturated fat per day based on sex. The new guide also recommends limiting sugary drinks and foods for example, confectionary/baked goods. PHE reports that adults consume double the daily amount of sugar and that children have more than triple the daily recommendation.

The newest version of the Eatwell guide shows a healthy diet that includes:

  • 5 portions of various fruits and veg each day
  • Meals based on potatoes, rice, pasta that would preferably be wholegrain carbohydrates
  • Limiting your dairy intake, choosing alternatives soya, coconut etc or opting for low in fat options
  • Eating light proteins such as beans, fish, eggs and chicken with 2 portions of fish being consumed per week
  • When cooking with oils or using spreads use unsaturated/low fat options and consume in low amounts
  • Drinking anywhere from 6-8 of water per day
  • When having high in fat or sugar foods limit your portion size

At least one third of your diet should come from a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating at least 5 portions a day is the recommendation with a portion being around 80g. Potatoes, rice, pasta and other carbohydrates should be the basis of meals with wholegrain variants being an even better option as wholegrains have more fibre, nutrients etc. Dairy should be replaced with low fat options or alternatives such as soy or coconut milk, low fat yoghurt and cheese. Proteins like beans and lentils are healthy alternatives to meat due to their natural low fat and high fibre, protein and nutrient content. Unsaturated fat is healthier and generally come from plants such as vegetable, rapeseed and olive oil. All fat is high in energy and should be kept to a limit in your diet. This includes chocolate, cake and sugary drinks, they aren’t required and should be acknowledged as treats.

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