Is the Government's 'Eatwell' Guide actually healthy?

I've adapted the Government's Eatwell guide above with the blocks indicating the proportion of each food that they're recommending for consumption. The majority is made up of fruits & veg and carbs in equal portions. The guide takes into account all the major food groups with significant importance on the nutrients from fruit and vegetables and the fibre obtained from whole grain starchy carbohydrates. Fibre is essential to help eliminate toxins from the body. Protein is crucial with each meal for muscle growth and to slow down the break-down of sugars into glucose for energy. This keeps you fuller for longer.

10 portions of vegetables daily is more conducive to good health than the recommended 5. More emphasis needs to be placed on vegetables rather than fruit. Although fruit is full of nutrients, it can also be high in sugar, potentially leading to a blood sugar imbalance. White bread, pasta, rice and bagels have very low nutrient levels and can also cause blood sugar imbalances. Excessive consumption of these foods can lead to adverse health effects such as diabetes and obesity.

Oils and spreads have also been given a section on the plate with specific reference to vegetable oils and spreads. Vegetable oils can be highly inflammatory to the body and the spreads can be high in trans fats potentially leading to heart disease.

The dairy section notes that these should be low fat, which is not always the healthiest option. The body needs saturated fats to make hormones and for immune health, however excessive consumption can lead to high cholesterol. There have also been several reports that show that consumption of dairy can be carcinogenic and can adversely effect your gut health, skin and hormones.

It is helpful that the guide provides vegetarian and vegan options as well. The guide does not make reference to the types of produce that are healthy, such as the importance of purchasing high quality foods. Organic, grass-fed, free-range and wild-caught products that are low in pesticides, hormones and toxins, each of which can cause several diseases. It also does not specify how the food should be prepared, if the foods are deep fried, they are no longer healthy.

Although in theory, the Eatwell guide can give a reasonably healthy individual an indication of what foods they can eat (with some exceptions), it is crucial when making dietary choices to factor in that each person is unique, what works for one may not work for others. Several people suffer from intolerances, sensitivities, allergies, IBS, etc. and require a very specific diet unique to their individual needs.

I have modified the guide (below) to provide the average, healthy person a good indication of what they should be eating and in what proportion. However, most people require diets that are specifically tailored to their individual needs.

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BANT Registered Nutritionist,  

Registered Nutritional Therapist CNHC & Health Coaches Academy Certified Health Coach

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© 2016 by Michelle Boehm