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A healthier plate: what's new with the WHO's food guidance

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published its updated food guidance, backed by the latest scientific evidence. In a pursuit to promote healthier lifestyles, WHO has released new guidelines focusing on fats and carbs, aiming to mitigate the risk of unhealthy weight gain and diet-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, and certain types of cancer. These evidence-based recommendations are not just jargon-filled guidelines nor intending to be the food police; they have real implications for our everyday lives and dietary choices. So, discover what these new guidelines mean for us, and how we can embrace a path towards healthier dietary habits.

A fat tale: quantity and quality

You know what they say – you are what you eat! And that's why WHO is reminding us that both the quantity and quality of dietary fat matter. It's not about saying "no" to fat altogether; it's about picking the healthy kinds.

So, here's what you need to know: Adults should aim to keep total fat intake at 30% or less of the daily total energy intake. When it comes to the type of fat, WHO suggests that most of our fats should be the good guys – unsaturated fatty acids – no more than 10% of our energy should come from saturated fatty acids and a tiny 1% from trans-fatty acids, whether that's in processed snacks or meat from ruminant animals (cattle & sheep).

We all love our juicy steaks and creamy butter, but too much of those saturated fats isn't doing us any favours. So, start swapping in healthier options like plant-based fats found in nuts, seeds, and oils like olive oil. And remember, moderation is the name of the game.

Out with the bad, in with the good

Bye-bye, saturated and trans fats – hello, better alternatives! Instead of feeling down about cutting back on some of our favourite foods, let's get creative in the kitchen. How about some roasted veggies drizzled with olive oil? Or a crunchy trail mix loaded with nuts and seeds for those on-the-go munchies?

Small changes can lead to big health benefits, so there's no need for entire overhaul in your diet. Simple swaps like fries for baked potato wedges. It's all about finding tasty replacements that nourish our bodies and tickle our taste buds!

Carbs: the good, the bad, and the wholesome

Carbohydrates – the misunderstood heroes of the food world! WHO wants us to know that not all carbs are created equal. The secret lies in choosing the right ones – the wholesome, fibre-rich ones.

Get ready to add a pop of colour to your plate with WHO's recommendations – let's load up on whole grains, veggies, fruits, and pulses. Say goodbye to those refined carbs that give us a sugar rush followed by a crash!

There's no need to swap your burger buns for lettuce wraps, or spaghetti for courgetti - you might like to give it a go. Try wholemeal options like brown pasta, rice or bread and consider bulking meals out with grains and pulses for a more satisfying dish.

The magic of fibre and veggies

You know the WHO are hyped about fibre and veggies. They help keep our digestion in check, keep us feeling full and satisfied, and even help lower the risk of some pesky diseases. But how much do we actually need to be eating a day?

WHO's got some simple guidelines for us to follow:

For adults, aim to get at least 400 grams of fruits and veggies each day, similar to the 5-a-day recommendation you may already be aiming for you. Don't forget to get your fibre fix – 25 grams per day for adults, try eating a variety of 30 plants a week for that gut health support & fibre variety.

For the kids, it's a bit less, but equally important:

2–5 years old: at least 250 grams of fruits and veggies and 15 grams of fibre per day.

6–9 years old: at least 350 grams of fruits and veggies and 21 grams of fibre per day.

10 years or older: at least 400 grams of fruits and veggies and 25 grams of fibre per day.

If you're thinking 'what a lot of rules', don't panic. These aren't intended to dictate your diet, rather to act as a guide to point us in the right direction towards building healthier habits and reduce the risk of diet-related diseases.

So, the next time you're at the supermarket, and feeling overwhelmed by do's & don't's, think colourful fruits and veggies, opt for whole grains, and make friends with the good fats. It's all about balance and making those small changes, rather than everything at once – remember, every step counts!

And don't forget a little indulgence once in a while and finding joy in food is also an important part of a healthy, balanced diet for us, to eat well and be well.




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