EATWELL guide (UK)

Nutrition, July 22, 2018

This is an article that was promoted after the airing of this particular guide on UK TV. I have added a few views to the points raised. Basically the world needs to change it's food habits due to pressure from health, environment, resource use, and animal ethic concerns.

On July the 2nd this year (2018) in the UK the food programme "The Eatwell Guide" aired. The programme was high-jacked by misinformation that was unbalanced, focusing on opinion more than science - further confusing the public. After the programme a response was put forward from a group of predominant health professionals that were concerned with the narrative that would continue to fuel the epidemic of chronic disease. 
"What we need people to do, is to actually start eating consistently with the EATWELL guide. Confusing messages suggesting we should eat less carbohydrate will only increase the risk of heart disease."  Professor Louis Levy
Similar to NZ in the UK there are governmental conflicts of interest between the public health education, the environmental agencies, and the animal agriculture/dairy industry. There is stark scientific data showing the unsustainability for the worlds economy to continue to rely on meat, dairy, and fisheries for food staples. Continued land degradation and mass species extinction has resulted in the uptake of plant based options in supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants. More emphasis is needed on a predominantly whole food plant based (WFPB) diet given the research strongly supporting its role in helping longevity while preventing and in some cases reversing chronic disease. 


The EATWELL guide matches other world leading dietary advice which is shifting towards a whole food plant based way of eating and greatly reducing foods from animal sources.  

1)The World Health Organisation (WHO) healthy diet.
2)The Food Triangle, Flemish Institute for Healthy Living (Belgium)
3)Canada Dietary Reviews
4)USA, My plate.
5)Harvard healthy plate and Healthy eating pyramid.


These health professionals support a predominantly plant based diet while limiting foods from animals. They all accept the mounting scientific evidence which is converging to promote..........

-Promotion of beans and legume consumption as an alternative to animal meat.
-Promotion of whole grains and fibre rich food.
-Promotion of plant based omega 3 fats (e.g ground chia 15g provides 2500mg of ALA omega 3 fatty acids or 150%+ of your daily intake* and flax seeds, Walnuts 15g provides 1250mg of omega 3, brussel sprouts 80g serving provides 135mg, Hemp Seed 15g provides 2900mg of ALA)
-Promotion of healthy fat sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
-The continued reduction of saturated fats and refined oils (RDI under 10%)
-Promotion of plant based alternatives to dairy
-Advise that red and processed meat consumption is limited to rarely or NONE.
-Advise that other meat intake guidance to limited to only occasional (i.e 4-5 x a month)
-Advise that contamination of fish (heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants) results in long term health issues and concerns. Women of child bearing age should be made aware that exposure may have negative effects on the unborn child.
-Limit egg consumption due to its high saturated fat and cholesterol content.
-Promotion of plant based menu options in hospitals, schools, workplace canteens and care homes. 


*ALA over 19 years 1100mg women, and 1600mg for men

We need more unification between the dietary "tribes". For instance the LCHF and WFPB approach have a lot in common e.g limiting sugars, refined flour, and overly processed foods while increasing vegetables, fruits, healthy whole grains, and pulses so the general public can choose products with confidence rather that throw their hands in the air as much to say "Well if the professionals don't know whats healthy then I'll just eat what I want."
The advantages of a low carb eating pattern using whole foods is gaining popularity - people lose weight, improve blood sugars, and reduce cholesterol. Removing refined flour, processed foods and refined sugar is a massive improvement. This has to be balanced with the large amount of data that shows in the long term a low carb way of eating is associated with reduced lifespan and increase risk of heart disease. It's important to look at a range of evidence, not just short randomised controlled trials or anecdotal studies to see how an eating pattern can affect long term health.


Cellular biology shows that animal proteins contribute to cellular aging and stress. Saturated fat (which are mostly found in foods derived from animals) and trans fat contribute to mechanisms of insulin resistance - they disrupt insulin from being able to carry and transport glucose.

To suggest that carbs alone make us fat is totally illogical. Pastries and donuts are not "carbs" - they are mostly sugar and fat!


"We need to move the health conversation forward from vilifying ALL fats and ALL carbs and realise that to help the general public understand how to increase their health there must be an emphasis on VEGETABLES, FRUITS, GRAINS, BEANS, NUTS, SEEDS, and WATER to drink."

Studies of the most long lived populations shows that a 95% plant based diet is what they all have in common. Increasing research into the microbiome shows the importance of dietary fibre (only found in plant foods, NONE present in foods from animals) for total gut health.


The 2018 World Cancer Research Fund ( recommended "eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and beans. Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat." Also the BMJ has just published a specially commissioned review series on nutrition and health - Dietry fat and cardiometabolic health : evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance (BMJ 2018;361:k2139 doi: 10,1136/bmj.k2139) - "Much of the evidence suggests that the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat" So basically replace animal fat with fat from plant sources. "The consumption of a low carbohydrate, high fat diet assumes that high levels of dietary fat and saturated fat can consumed for a lifetime without the risks outweighing the benefits. A point of controversy is whether such assumptions can be accepted without long term clinical trials."

The public will be more accepting of the science when they experience the improved physical health and emotional well being first hand with the slant towards eating more plants and less animal products. I listened to participants in the world famous WFPB Broad study (little known NZ study with participants eating a whole food plant based diet conducted in Gisbourne - ) angrily say - "why didn't our doctors tell us that eating a WFPB (basically a vegan diet) could help us lose weight, reverse pre-diabetes, and make us feel so good!" The answer to this is many NZ doctors are unaware of the real benefits of a plant based diet and are very rushed in their 10-15min consults to be able to go into the importance of healthy lifestyle habits. The good news is there is change happening with more doctors starting to become interested in lifestyle medicine.