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National campaign urges public to choose healthy alternatives


Families are being urged to “swap while they shop” in a bid to cut down on saturated fat and sugar in their diets.

Switching fizzy drinks for sugar-free alternatives could mean the average family would reduce their sugar intake by three quarters of a bag of sugar over just one month, according to the latest Change4Life campaign.

And changing whole milk for semi-skimmed could see the average family cut down their fat intake by a third of a pint over four weeks.

The campaign, run by Public Health England (PHE), also encourages people to swap cheese to reduced fat cheese, butter to a low-fat alternative and to steer clear of sugary cereals and opting for healthier breakfast options.

“Swapping like-for-like food in our diet could help cut out surprising levels of saturated fat, sugar and ultimately calories without having to give up the kinds of food we like,” said Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE.

“We all eat too much saturated fat and sugar which can increase our calorie intake. Together this increases our risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

“We’re committed to doing as much as possible to support families to make these swaps, which is why I’m pleased to announce that hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of offers will be available to those who sign up to Smart Swaps and in store across hundreds of shops in England.”

Public health minister Jane Ellison added: “We know how difficult it can be to make big changes to your diet which is why this new Change4Life campaign suggests small changes as a step in the right direction.

“With over 60% of adults and a third of 10- and 11-year-olds overweight or obese, it is really important that we keep helping people make better choices about their diet.”

As part of the new campaign, a series of adverts will run highlighting the “shocking” amounts of sugar in everyday food and drinks, a PHE spokeswoman said.

But the British Soft Drinks Association criticised the campaign for depicting soft drinks in a “deliberately negative” way.

“Whilst it’s reassuring to see a recognition that diet soft drinks can play a role in reducing calorie intake, we are disappointed that for the second year in succession this campaign heavily targets soft drinks which provide just 2% of the calories in the average adult diet in the UK,” said the Association’s director general Gavin Partington.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Fizzy pops are pure junk. 'Sports' drinks are no better, only with more sugars and different PR.

    Children should never be offered these drinks, but schools, workplaces, pools and gyms cheerfully install vending machines and take payments for doing so.

    Obese children are also likely to have dental problems due to their sugary diet. Free school milk stopped decades ago. TV and press advertising pushes junk foods.

    It isn't a matter of poor choices. The whole food environment around many children is pretty toxic to their health & development. It's hard to fight for health when there's so much investment to push rubbish.

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  • all of these drinks and most processed foods are mere marketing hype none can possibly be healthy. people should be eating more fresh home grown and natural produce from proper UK farms and market gardens or even grow some of their own. perhaps instead of building more houses we should be reclaiming farmland and fishing waters, etc.

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