Public Health England (PHE) has told food makers to cut calories in their products by 20% by 2024 in a bid to tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes rates.
PHE, an executive agency of the Department of Health, has outlined 13 food categories such as sandwiches, ready meals and savoury biscuits where it wants sugar and calorie reduction efforts from food makers.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, announced that food producers can meet this target either by reducing portion sizes, promoting healthy options or reformulating products.
PHE believes this new anti-obesity drive will reduce NHS costs by £4.5b, revealing that the NHS spends £6.6bn annually on obesity-related illness. Obesity significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and other health complications, and combating obesity is paramount to improving the UK’s health.
However, while cutting calories in unhealthy foods is a relatively positive step, it fails to address the major issue behind rising obesity and type 2 diabetes in the UK: people continue to eat too many highly processed foods.
Even after calories have been cut from processed foods, food makers will still be serving food with little nutritional value that raises blood glucose levels and aids weight gain.
Recent research, from the journal of Public Health Nutrition, shows that over 50% of family food purchases in the UK are for ultra-processed foods.
Benedict Jephcote, Editor of, said: “Public Health England’s efforts to make £4.5 billion in NHS savings appears to be pie in the sky. The root issue is being side-stepped. Research shows that the nation as a whole is eating too much of the wrong foods. The issue of rising weight gain and associated long-term conditions needs to be tackled by improving access to natural, healthy, unprocessed foods.”
Fortunately, a positive movement is happening amongst grass roots. Hundreds of thousands of people who have signed up to our award-winning Low Carb Program and cut out processed foods altogether in favour of healthy fats and low carbohydrate foods are losing weight and preventing future health complications.
The Low Carb Program has helped people with diabetes, or at risk of it, reduce their dependency on medication through eating real foods, improving their health significantly, all while eating delicious meals.
PHE plans to provide guidance for food markers on specific product categories by 2019 and will report regularly to the government on what steps are being taken.

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