BBC Headline: Ready Meals May Count Towards Five A Day

Review Of News Articles

This article came out this week regarding new considerations of what the ‘5-A-Day’ logo could entail.

…“Currently the five-a-day logo can be used only on food or drink that is 100% fruit or vegetable.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think including ‘ready meals’ in the Five-A-Day ‘branding’s’ could be sending the wrong message??


They noted:

…”Products would have to meet agreed standards on fat, sugar and salt.”

……but some of these ‘ready meals’ are not ‘great’; not just with their added sugar, fat and salt contents. A ‘token’ amount of peas, tomatoes or beans doesn’t go far into your 5-A-Day total.  These ‘ready meals’ should contain healthier levels of sugar, fat and salt anyways and they should emphasize that serving them with ADDITIONAL vegetables will help people meet healthy eating guidance! Vegetables provide us with a lot more vitamins and minerals than fruit do and therefore go a long way into preventing chronic diseases…. So we should be encouraging more people to cook from scratch, using a vary of vegetables, legumes and pulses…


It feels like the government has given up on the obesity problem slightly… because the masses complain about a ‘nannying state’ and portray that the current 5-A-Day structure and physical activity guidance is unrealistic … so they are ‘watering down’ the criteria of what may or may not be healthy.

…“Now government nutritionists are meeting with academics and food industry experts to decide if rules on the five-a-day logo scheme can be relaxed to include healthy foods that are currently excluded.”

If they do include ‘ready meals’, should the quantity of fruit of vegetables be increased too? Maybe 7-A-Day? How many fruits and vegetables do you currently eat/day?


As it stands:

…“Fewer than one in three adults and one in 10 children in the UK eat the recommended five portions a day.”

They should be reviewing the situation… and ask themselves why people are not currently making these recommendations… not ‘lowering the standards’ necessary…

It’s pretty obvious that more provisions should be made into providing: food education, healthy living and eating advice and cheaper staple foods (as food poverty has been shown to affect so many in the UK)…we shouldn’t try and make people feel good about their bad habits, laziness or lack of will power …by condoning processed foods and/or ‘ready meals’ as a ‘healthier choice’.

Cooking methods and the quality of the ingredients used in meals are really the deciding factors as to what is considered healthy anyways….and if we are just relying on ‘zapping’ our meals (regardless of how many vegetables it contains)…how many nutrients will it provide us with?


…“No decision has yet been made on what foods would make the grade – but about 350 categories of foods are being looked at, including pizza, vegetable lasagne, soup, and low fat baked beans.”

What’s next then…should we consider condiments and ‘fruit cakes’ too…

Ultimately, if the guidance changes, the general tone of ‘ready meals’ could be a healthier one….and until we know the full criteria for the new guidance, its hard to give it a full thumbs up or a thumbs down.


Where do we draw the line with solid healthy eating advice or what foods are considered healthy? What are your thoughts?


Written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image: Courtesy of the BBC website (original article)

Obesity knocks 8 years off your life

Review Of News Articles

Many papers and news sites are running similar attention grabbing headlines to the one above as they run stories on the conclusions of a report published by the Lancet Journal offshoot Diabetes and endocrinology. 

The title is certainly headline grabbing and the report itself adds further damning evidence as to the dangers of being obese.

whilst many people may not be too concerned about loosing 8 years and will trot out the very tired line ” so what if I don’t live to be so old I cant do anything and enjoy life”. They are completely missing the point; the other conclusions of this report show that  not only do you lose years off your life you will spend more of your life in ill health.

What their driving at here is the fact that being obese increases your risks of a whole range of health problems including but not limited to Diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Most people are probably well aware of this on some level and tend to switch off at this point as what they don’t like considering are the serious complications that can arise including brain damage, inability to swallow, amputations of limbs, blindness, kidney failure….. the list goes on.

So what I say to the naysayers and blissful ignorance crowd is…. make a little effort; you don’t need to drastically alter an unhealthy diet to avoid most of the above, remember that 1st stroke may not kill you and diabetes doesn’t go away.

For those that are preparing to make changes or have tried and failed, remember the Guinness slogan “good things come to those that wait”. Weight loss should be a gradual process and the natural result of lifestyle changes, severely restrictive or ‘fad diets’  will never give you long term results.

Alexander Risby RDTrust a Dietitian

news article

Review Of News Articles

On our eat2health facebook page I shared a BBC article about a recent study into the Mediterranean diet and reduction of heart diseases; they also advocated it for weight loss. 

Now none of this is new and has been taught to Dietitians and properly trained nutritionists for years but in case you’re unsure:

“A Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean cuisine varies by region, but is largely based on vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, olive oil and fish.”
NHS choices website

I won’t go on in detail about the Med… diet; although it may feature as an article in the future; the interesting point from the report and as was highlighted by the BBC are the comments about the food industry and the NHS. The inclusion of fast food outlets and shops full of chocolate within hospitals has always been a sore topic for Dietitians so it’s nice to see a professor and chairman of the national obesity forum decrying their “sinister effect”.

Alexander Risby  RD Trust a Dietitian

(image taken from the BBC article – not referenced)