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Change4Life campaign targets calories but misses key messages

The new Change4Life advertising campaign focuses on small dietary swaps families can make to reduce their total calorie intake.
One of the key changes advised is to swap full sugar cola and other sweet drinks for diet versions. The campaign points out that a 2 litre bottle of fizzy pop typically contains around 52 lumps of sugar.
For the vast majority of people in the UK, particularly those that are overweight or otherwise at a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes, consuming sugary drinks is a waste of calories as these drinks are high calorie and carry no nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals.
The current Change4Life campaign also recommends the following Small Swaps:

Choosing porridge and low sugar whole wheat cereals instead of sugary cereals
Having skimmed milk instead of whole or semi skimmed milk
Swapping full fat cheese for low fat cheese
Eating low fat spreads instead of butter

A criticism of the campaign is that the dairy swaps suggested encourage consumers to buy foods that are lower in fat and also more processed. The change that raises the most eyebrows is the case with the swap of butter for low fat spreads. This is surprising as whilst butter contains natural fats, many low fat spreads, such as margarine, are known to contain trans fats, which can be a danger to health if consumed regularly.
Whilst the dairy swaps are questionable, other key foods that are well recognised to be a problem have been missed. A prime example are other high carbohydrate foods which provide little in the way of nutrition such as white breads, white rice and the countless other high calorie and low nutritional value convenience foods, such as pizzas, crisps, sausage rolls, buns and cakes, which are prominently placed in supermarkets and high street outlets such as Greggs.
Change4Life is a health awareness campaign that focuses on the daily changes that most people in the UK can make to improve their health in the short and long term. Change4Life provides educational and motivational messages to help people in the UK reduce their chances of developing common health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Previous Change4Life campaigns have focused on the ways families can take more exercise and how adults can prevent becoming over reliant on alcohol.

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