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Public needs advice on what food to buy—not just told to avoid sugar, says expert

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4288 (Published 26 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4288
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

Scientists must do more to help people fully understand “diet as a whole” when faced with separate research findings on sugar, fats, or other dietary aspects, and to enable them to change their behaviour, an expert has said.

Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at Oxford University, said that cutting calories was vital for reducing obesity levels and that sugar was an “obvious target” because it added calories to the diet but no other nutrients. “It’s clear that people are eating more calories than they need,” she said. But she added that a wide ranging and “realistic” policy approach was needed to help translate nutritional research on the complexities of diet into useful information for consumers.

She said that little good quality evidence had shown what was effective in changing people’s behaviours. “Biomedical research has been very obsessed with biomedical solutions, and behaviour is much more complicated than that. We need far greater investment in the core underpinnings of behavioural sciences,” she said.

Jebb, who chairs the government’s “responsibility deal” with the food and drinks industry, was on a panel of experts …

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