Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Prescription for a better British diet.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 24 February 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:527
  1. R Passmore,
  2. D F Hollingsworth,
  3. J Robertson


    A new approach to establishing an upper or prescriptive level of recommended intakes of nutrients was devised for use in Britain. It was based on present food supplies in the UK, and the following measures were proposed to improve the national diet: moderate reductions in intakes of fat, sugar, meat, and alcohol; increased intakes of cereals, potatoes, and other vegetables and fruit; while intakes of milk and eggs and fish, pulses, and nuts were to remain unchanged. The proportions of food energy derived from protein would be increased, despite reduced meat consumption. Nutrient content of the diet may be expressed in terms of food groups or as nutrient concentrations per energy unit, which is particularly applicable to planning or prescribing diets for individuals or small groups. The suggested changes in the national diet are large enough to be meaningful, yet would not disrupt agricultural or trade policies if implemented over the next decade. Furthermore, the methods used to assess the recommended intakes of nutrients are flexible enough to be used both for planning and prescribing diets and for evaluating results of dietary surveys or histories.