The Eatwell Guide has been launched by the FSA in Northern Ireland to replace the Eatwell plate and now reflects updated dietary recommendations, including those on sugar, fibre and starchy carbohydrates from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on Carbohydrates and Health in 2015.
The guide shows that a healthy diet should now include more fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates and have fewer sugary foods and drinks, as well as the revised proportions of the food groups that help us meet official advice and nutrient requirements.
There is greater prominence for fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates, preferably wholegrain, in the new guide. The FSA recommends consuming 30 grams of fibre a day, the same as eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, two whole-wheat cereal biscuits, two thick slices of wholemeal bread and one large baked potato with the skin on. Currently people only consume around 19 grams of fibre per day, less than two thirds the recommendation.
Sugary soft drinks have been removed from the image and foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar have been moved to the periphery of the guide, reflecting advice that they are not an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet. Adults should have less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men a day.
The FSA also advises limiting the consumption of sugar, for example from sugary drinks and confectionary. Adults have twice as much sugar as is recommended and children have over three times. Everyone over the age of 11 should consume less than 30 grams or seven cubes of sugar a day.
The advice that only a 150ml serving of fruit juice counts as 1 of the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is now extended to include smoothies. This is in acknowledgement of the high sugar content of smoothies. The Eatwell Guide now displays drinks recommendations which make clear that adults should be aiming to have 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day ideally from water, lower fat milks, and unsweetened tea or coffee.
The Eatwell Guide depicts a healthy, balanced diet, which includes:
- Eating at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Basing meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
- Having some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
- Eating some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
- Choosing unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
- Drinking 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day
- If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar then have these less often and in small amounts
The Government 5 A Day logo has been refreshed and the criteria for use on smoothie products has changed to accommodate the new advice.
The Eatwell Guide
In Northern Ireland the new Eatwell Guide makes healthy eating easier to understand by giving a visual representation of the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy and well balanced diet.
HCPA are running Advanced Nutrition Pathway courses starting as early as June, so express your interest by emailing email@example.com to keep updated!