London: In an attempt to tackle overweight and obesity in Britain, Public Health England (PHE) released new health guidelines that urge Britons to reduce their intake of calories to just 1,600 a day.
The suggestions from PHE – a government agency for preventing ill health – include 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner and this does not include drinks, the Daily Mail reported. Also, people who follow the new guidelines can take 200 calories in form of healthy snacks.
The new amount, which is below the current recommended daily intake of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men, aims to help people living in Britain better manage their weight and health in the new year. Read: Weight loss – Seven simple ways to shed holiday pounds in one week without exercise
The One You nutrition campaign – new calorie guidelines – will be rolled out by PHE in March 2018, and adults will be told to remember the “400-600-600” rule.
Officials are also in talks with coffee shop chains and supermarkets to promote healthy breakfast and lunch options within the limit.
“We can no longer hide behind the charade that having a takeaway or eating out is merely a treat. Adults consume 200 to 300 excess calories each day and this calorie creep is contributing to weight gain and other serious health conditions,” a PHE spokesman was quoted telling the Daily Mail.
“This is why we’re working with high street chains to offer healthier options through our reduction programmes and new One You nutritional campaign,” the spokesman added.
Obesity rates for British men and women are at 27 percent – the highest in any country in western Europe. Also Read: Water Diet could be the worst thing you do to lose weight, warn experts
An average adult is overeating by 300 calories a day, and this so-called “calorie-creep” is leading to a steady weight gain, officials said.
The guidelines “is a panic measure to get the public to understand they are eating too much”, Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, was quoted as telling the Daily Mail.
“Portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger and people are mindlessly eating them just because they are there. The idea is sound because we are eating too much, but my feeling is the thresholds are too low,” Fry added.
However, the guidelines are merely a “rule of thumb” rather than strict limits, the government agency said.
Experts, on the other hand, have criticised the move. The calorie guidelines are “not based on evidence and are essentially a lie designed to manipulate people into eating less”, said Christopher Snowdon from the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank.
“It’s been well established for decades that reasonably active people need between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day to maintain their weight,” Christopher Snowdon added.