The Eatwell Guide: Introduction

blackburn

#1

The Eatwell Guide was created by Public Health England and is based on government recommendations. It’s exactly what it says – a GUIDE. It outlines the proportions of each food group you should be including in your diet. When people talk about a ‘balanced’ diet or meal, this is the best thing to refer to. Here’s the 5 food groups:

Carbohydrates: Give us ENERGY. Ideally, these should be wholegrain as this gives us fiber. Currently, the UK population consumes less than half of the recommended 30g/day fiber. Excellent sources of starchy carbohydrates include potatoes, rice, pasta and bread – choosing wholegrain when possible.

Fruit and Vegetables: These provide us with essential vitamins and minerals, including more fiber. Managing to eat 5 portions of these a day can be a struggle for some. In fact, the UK as a whole struggles to reach 1-2 in some areas. Sneaking fruit and vegetables into everyday meals is a great way to increase consumption.

Protein: Contributes to muscle growth and repair. Despite the perception that we need high protein diets, only around 15-20% of our daily energy (calories) needs to be from a protein. Ideally, we should be sourcing our protein from more beans and pulses, 2 portions of sustainably sourced fish per week, one of which is oily, (salmon, mackerel, trout, fresh tuna) and consuming less red and processed meat.

Dairy and alternatives: These are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and, importantly, calcium; this is essential for bone health. Choose lower fat/less added sugar versions where possible.

Oils and spreads: These provide a direct source of fat in our diet. Fat has a number of functions, including helping the body absorb certain vitamins. Fat is very energy dense, so only needs to be consumed in small amounts. When choosing oils, try and aim for unsaturated versions such as vegetable, rapeseed, olive and sunflower oils.


#2

I’ve never been much of a fan of the eatwell guide myself, although it is a hell of an improvement on the food pyramid before it.

The set male/female calorie recommendations make me faceplam myself


#3

Yes it’s certainly just a guide calorie-wise! I think it’s an excellent visual representation of a balanced diet, focusing more on what a diet should consist of and what each food group does for us.


#4

I don’t personally do anything close to this, but each to their own!


#5

It’s the current government guidelines for eating for good health, but the problem most people face when trying to lose weight is mis-education.

Most of the gen pop seem to be under the impression that eating for health & eating for weight-loss is the same thing, but it isn’t.

There is most certainly a cross-over, but the governments stance of telling people to just ‘eat healthy’ is failing, mainly because the public are not being educated on the simple science of energy balance.

Nobody is giving this basic piece of education to the public.

In-fact the NHS often recommends weight-watchers to obese patients rather than having a system of basic education to point them to.

Calories are king when is comes to changing body composition (body fat levels) but there’s so much pussy footing around the mentioning of the word ‘calorie’ that it leaves the gates of confusion open, thus the gen pop never get access to the very basic education of how fat loss works (energy balance).

I can’t count how many times people have told me “I don’t understand why I;m not losing weight, because I eat healthy, I eat xyz food etc”

When it comes to weight loss gen pop seem to be under the constant impression that good & bad foods exist (they don’t, not in a full dietary context) and that these fictional ‘bad foods’ cause weight gain, whilst the fictional ‘good foods’ cause weight loss.

Having a diet mostly compromised of nutrient dense, satiating food is of course extremely important, but having the understanding & education that energy balance is the key to losing weight is the starting point.