The Eatwell Guide is in the news yet again. Zoe Harcombe is doing a magnificent job of pointing out its many flaws, and I’m tempted to leave her to it. But I thought you might like to hear my views on it too. I’ll be brief!
As you know, I’m studying for an MSc in Personalised Nutrition and I have just submitted my first assignment which took about 150 hours of intensive research and analysis. The essay was centred around individual nutrient requirements, exactly the territory the Eatwell Guide is designed to cover. I read dozens of research reviews and clinical trial papers, comparing studies from all around the world, across the last 40 years, focussing particularly on studies carried out in the last 5 years.
To help focus our thoughts we were asked to consider a case study: a typical UK resident, on a typical UK diet, with a typically busy and stressful life, and with typically out-of-control weight problems putting her at increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
I was asked to consider the appropriateness of the Eatwell Guide in respect of this client and, after I had weight up all the evidence, I had to conclude that recommending her to adopt the Government guidelines would not have improved her health in any way. In fact, I concluded that it would have made her even fatter and even sicker than she already was!
The whole point of a Master’s degree is that you have to be impartial, weighing up the evidence from both sides, not just cherry-picking the studies that back your theory. And you have to look at all the evidence, not just some of it. It takes a lot of discipline and objectivity to keep an open mind and let the science lead you to your conclusions. And the science was clear: there was absolutely no way I could have supported the Eatwell Guide based on the evidence I reviewed. I honestly can’t understand how anyone could.
If you haven’t yet read Zoe Harcombe’s commentaries on the subject you can find them here. Meanwhile, if you are overweight and in poor health I recommend you seek professional and impartial nutrition advice from a qualified and registered Nutritional Therapist like me. If you follow standard NHS and public health advice – for your weight, cholesterol, diabetes or cancer – you are putting your health at risk.