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Should we change our eating habits?

09:11 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The NHS watchdog NICE is calling for trans-fats - which are often found in biscuits, cakes and fast food - to be eliminated from food in England. Would you welcome such a move?

The artificial fats prolong the shelf life of food - but they have no nutritional value and can damage health.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is also pressing for further reductions in salt and saturated fats. Its experts say 40,000 of the 150,000 annual deaths are "eminently preventable".

Should healthier foods be subsidised? Would you like to see colour coding on food products? Have you recently changed your diet and taken up more exercise?

From Radio 4's Today programme: Julian Hunt from the Food and Drink Federation gives his reaction.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Trans-fats are obviously evil.

    Why not make food manufacturers who use it whack a warning on the front?

    Possibly with a photograph of an exploding heart?

    At least then people would be educated as to the dangers.

    Or they could just ban everything thats remotely bad for us.

    Thanks nanny.

  • Comment number 2.

    The early death of thousands seems to be an acceptable price society pays for food companies to make large profits.

  • Comment number 3.

    New York City did banned these fats 4 years ago! Why are we so slow to find similar solutions over here?

  • Comment number 4.

    40,000 of the 150,000 deaths are not preventable - they are postponable (is that a real word ? If not, then I'm claiming it....).

    Any health research that claims saving lives saves the NHS money is blatantly flawed - people who die are very cheap, people who live long lives are expensive.

    So, laying those two arguments aside, the claim should be "removing trans-fats from your diet may add a few years to your life, but in fairness it's the twilight, adult nappy, nursing home and ever-reducing pension years".

    As with all these things, information should be available on the research which can let people make their own choice about what to eat / drink / smoke etc. It is not a government job to legislate on lifestyle choices and it would actually be in the best financial interests of the NHS and pensions agency for us all to die at 65 the day after we retire.

    It might not be nice but it is true.

  • Comment number 5.

    No. Let the responsible, educated and caring people eat sensibly; let the greedy and stupid eat rubbish. Now let Darwinism take its course.

  • Comment number 6.

    All these preventable deaths are very tragic. However I wont live forever; suppose I avoid stroke and heart disease - what's next to look forward to?

  • Comment number 7.

    Once again britain is years behind others? Ive known that transfats cause health problems for years i would like to know why it takes this lousey country years to save peoples lives when they know something as simple as banning these terrible fats in our foods...why do we pay these government bodies to look after the nations health?

  • Comment number 8.

    Certainly we should be eating more healthily and we should be made aware of what is in our foods. The days when we grew and prepared our own food seem to have passed us by. At least in those days we knew what was in it. There is certainly a market for companies that wish to offer healthier food so maybe someone seize the opportunity without overpricing the food they produce.

  • Comment number 9.

    It would be nice if Nice could stick to their day job and stopped moving into the fields of other departments.

    It would be also nice if NICE happenned to read whats happening outside of their QUANGO such as the decision by the EU Parliament to not regulate these items last week.

    The nanny state is dead and gone get used to it now.

  • Comment number 10.

    The real problem with this is can it be afforded? It is no secret that in a lot of foodstuffs where this type of ingredient is used, means that they are cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy.

    In our household, when we can afford to, we do buy and eat more fresh produce and healthier produce, but when the belt has to be tightened it's back to the cheaper stuff.

    So, to all of those advocating banning these things, either force down the price of the 'good for you' produce or supply those of us that can't afford it with the money to afford it. You can't have it both ways, either we starve as we cannot afford the food we need (which puts a burden on the public purse) or we eat the foodstuffs containing these things and face the concequences in later life (which will again put a burden on the public purse).

    Perhaps the way forwards with this is to force the Suppliers (in cluding the manufacturers,shops and supermarkets) to offer the goods at a price we can afford and they take a hit on their profits, as these seem to be very excessive.

  • Comment number 11.

    There you go. Simple VAT increase on all products containing trans fats in todays budgets. Bring in a few pound for the economy. Or would this also be classed as a tax on the poor?

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd like to know what I'm eating and that what I am eating is there purely for nutritional and taste purposes, not to prolong shelf-life making food companies' lives easier.

    Health and a duty of care to humanity is more important than profit.

  • Comment number 13.

    Absolutely.

    Junk and convienience foods are widespread and causing the increase of diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc.

    I really think people should be more aware of what they eat.

    I enjoy a varied diet because I love food and treat myself to a takeaway once a week which is perhaps too much.

    Healthy food is however more expensive so in a time of tightening the spending I can understand why people go for the cheaper less healthy option.

    My concern is that unheathly eating is now normality for thousands of people when it should be a treat.

  • Comment number 14.

    If people are stupid enough to think they can live on a diet of fast food, biscuits and shop-bought cake (woefully inferior to the home-made kind), then that's their problem.

  • Comment number 15.

    Stupid question and a stupid report, in my humble opinion.

    Of course we should change our eating habits, but many of us won't. The report, like many that are suddenly appearing from NICE (who have been very quiet up until recently, now have an opinion on everything - justifying jobs?) is merely pointing out something of which all reasonably intelligent people are aware. But we still have freewill and choice in this country so people who want to kill themselves slowly and enjoy artificial tastes along the way should be entitled to do so. We all have to die of something.

    This summer is working out quite nicely - it's warm enough that many people are turning to salads instead of stodge, but for many it's far too little and perhaps too late. Home economics at school helped children to appreciate proper home-cooking instead of ready-made meals. Our lifestyle at work often dictates the time we have available to make good meals as well, and that needs to change before we can really tackle the underlying issues. If not transfats then something else that is tasty but bad for us will be substituted.

    At the end of the day we can decide to eat appropriately or to stuff our faces with the wrong stuff. It's the closest that modern society has to natural selection.

  • Comment number 16.

    We spend millions on research into the effects of diet and millions more informing the public of the results and then worry because we are all living so much longer that we can't afford the pensions and care needed by the elderly. Many of these findings are dubious. An important factor in our health is anxiety, perhaps if our media and news broadcasters stopped their contiinual diet of doom and gloom we would all be healthier.
    Health and diet have taken the place of religion, if someone is ill it must be their fault because they have sinned by not eating the correct food or taken enough excercise. I like many have had several friends and even family members who have unfortunately died young despite the fact that they have been superbly fit and lived by the rules. But humans always need to feel righteous and any mention of food now brings these people to the fore. In the past religion used this human need to their advantage However genetics are a large factor in our health but there is nothing we can do about this. Research into those with a genetic preponderance to disease would be far more useful than an overall condemnation of specific foods and livestyles, then we could all blame our parents and grandparents rather than feeling full of remorse every time we eat something nice. People would still have a need to feel guilty so they would no doubt find something else to fulfill this need but wouldn't it be good if we could shake off this desire to feel guilty and enjoy what life we have however long or short

  • Comment number 17.

    No, no, no. In case that's not clear, NO.

    Put Nanny back in her box, and securely nail down the lid. LEAVE US ALONE, to make up our own minds, take responsibility for our own lives, make our own lifestyle choices. Go away.

    Bury Nanny's box in 20 feet of concrete, and drop it into the deepest part of the ocean!

  • Comment number 18.

    Perhaps we should change our trusting habits and our belief that profit would never come before health.
    Companies spend billions on ads that tell you that what they produce is good for you.
    They also spend millions on lobbying parliament not to pass any laws that will effect their profits which is their God to which they are as addicted as any junkie.
    Undermining the truth about food production is the name of the game...you don't count if profits are adversely effected.

  • Comment number 19.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 20.

    LOL, with serious decline in bees our diets may soon be changed forever and we will need to eat whatever is available.

    Prolonging food shelf life is very important when feeding 6 billion people and it basically means that the WHOLE food production and supply systems would have to change to meet a VERY VERY substantial increase in food movement and transportation for much greater and quicker replenishment of fresh short life produce.

    It would also mean a much greater WASTE of food and also a MUCH greater need to increase food production just to maintain todays supply levels which would factually increase.

    Its ALL very well for these experts to come up with solutions for a particular issue/problem, but in solving one issue/problem a further MULTITUDE of problems/issues arise.

    At the end of the day I just wish that the state would let people die from their own ignorance and stupid reasoning and STOP playing at god and stop directing every last morsal of life to fit into a perfectly contained perception of heaven.

    As far as I can see from evidence around the world, the continued extensions of human life in various ways are just directly/indirectly contributing to the possibility of a huge and total collapse of our species, and others.

  • Comment number 21.

    Easy - put the VAT on transfats up to the level where it is no longer a cheap ingredient, and the problem will solve itself over time!

  • Comment number 22.

    What do other EU countries do about these fats? Are we following other countries or are we leading. Have we been slow to react or are we blazing a trail? What advise have the EU or WHO issued relative to these fats? We dont have enough information to be able to make a measured judgement.

    Yes, I would welcome colour coding of foods, I think it should be a legal requirement. It's still down to the individual to decide what they do or do not eat.

  • Comment number 23.

    "4. At 10:08am on 22 Jun 2010, Simon Hill wrote:
    40,000 of the 150,000 deaths are not preventable - they are postponable.

    Any health research that claims saving lives saves the NHS money is blatantly flawed - people who die are very cheap, people who live long lives are expensive."

    Brilliant! Wish I'd thought of that. Absolutely correct.

    We're all going to die sometime, and the longer we live, on average the more we cost the welfare state (pensions, health care, etc.).

    I'm also highly sceptical about the underlying research. I wonder how many causes of death are properly identified, when the person is known to be a smoker. Even with lung cancer, not all sufferers are/were smokers, so there are other causes, but I wonder if the NHS bothers to find out in each case, or just assumes smoking to be the cause for a smoker.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Why are all the things I like to do ,or eat are bad for me?

  • Comment number 25.

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)The Nutters have escaped again,they have no clinical evidance to back up there theory its all guess work, what if?,what might be?,could it be?.go back to sleep.

  • Comment number 26.

    If they are harmful to health and do not contribute to the production/making of a product then they should be banned. Manufacturers do not have a god given right to produce what they choose without government imposed rules. The general public cannot, and do not wish to, spend their life researching every food product in the shops in order to ensure they are eating totally safe foods. I agree that people can, and should, be left to choose wether they eat chocolate or fruit but it is the governments job, as caretakers, to ensure that harmful additives are not used. We all live by certain rules, in this society, and business people have to be responsible in their actions and not just be interested in making money at any cost!!

  • Comment number 27.

    How about as a start making it more difficult to open fast food outlets by, for example, restricting the number in any one area? I live in an area where there are 10 outlets within a very short distance - this surely is too many?

  • Comment number 28.

    There isnt a 1 size fits all person. Some people want to live very long lives and will sacrifice some enjoyment for the chance of some extra years. There are others (like me) who are alive, want to enjoy life while we have it even at the expense of a few more years.

    There is no right or wrong way to live in this situation, it is personal choice. Like the personal choice to drink or smoke, or drive without a seatbelt. Personal responsability is a wonderful thing which lets us live our own lives. The only time there is a problem is if it harms someone elses life.

    I hope the concept of personal responsability returns and decisions are not made for us. We should be informed but not dictated to

  • Comment number 29.

    Idle people who live solely on fast foods deserve all they get.

  • Comment number 30.

    The world, and places like the UK in particular, are already severely overpopulated, and the very last thing the human race should be doing is to find ways, such as diet, of prolonging life expectancies more than they are already.

    Anyway, what is so wrong about eating what you like? If people are happy to take whatever risk there is, in the knowledge that they could die early, then let them do it. There's an even chance one could fall under a bus instead.

    August institutions such as NICE ought to be disbanded in the furtherance of removing the nanny state that Labour built.

  • Comment number 31.

    Warning labels such as you see on fag packets would suffice. You must give people choice,its not anyones business what people eat. If "society" believes that by allowing transfats to be included in food it will cost society money in the future then tax that item proportionately to take account of medical treatment that might be needed.My guess is most people who enjoy fish and chips,pizza,kebabs,processed meat etc etc would continue to eat what they like NOT what so called experts think is correct. Im old enough to remember the endless so called experts being proved wrong on advice given regards everyones health on a range of subjects,so my advice to experts is pretty clear "mind your own business".

  • Comment number 32.

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is also pressing for further reductions in salt and saturated fats. Its experts say 40,000 of the 150,000 annual deaths are "eminently preventable".
    .......
    A Department of Health spokesperson said: "The best way to prevent cardiovascular disease is for people to eat better and be more active.


    There's always this push about preventable deaths. It's ultimately one of several soundbites to increase the stranglehold the medical world has over the rest of us mortals. They have taken responsibility for our health when it should be ours. Death is inevitable sooner or later. There is nothing the medical profession can do about that.

    It shows how far we've strayed from Nature, the ecological system that nurtured humanity, that people need advice about what to eat to keep healthy; that among natural foods like vegetables we're also taking in toxins about which effects the scientists really don't know.

    We are told "there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this-or-that does any harm", so up chirrup the politicians with their idiotically false logic; "therefore it is perfectly safe".

    Back in the 19th century vintners would sweeten bitter wines with.... you guessed it: lead. (They couldn't use sugar in case of a secondary ferment.) There was no scientific evidence then that showed it did any harm, therefore it was perfectly safe.

    How many more times must we learn these lessons: asbestos? mad cow disease? mercury tooth fillings? feeding babies cows' milk?

    But we won't.

    The only useful advice (if you care enough) is to learn enough about yourself to know what you should be eating then acquire it in its purest form. And apply a bit of self-discipline. The medical profession is not to be trusted in entirety. There are too many things it doesn't know in spite of its presumption.

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't know why food manufacturers are allowed to put salt and sugar etc in our foods in the first place - they must be getting money from Saxa Salt and Tate & Lyle Sugar to use their products! Why not make all foods without these additives and we can add salt and sugar as we wish - if we wish. I can never understand packaging that reads 'Good for You' - yes it might have less fat but if you look at the salt content you will see that it is still very high and salt is one of the biggest health threats to our packaged food. When you look at food labels you will see that sugar and salt is in almost everything you buy although a lot of people are unaware of this.

    I do try to cook fresh as much as I can so I can control what I put in my food but it's not always possible and depending on what you cook it can work out more expensive to cook fresh.

    As for living longer and healthier lives - I thought NICE was putting paid to that by withholding life-saving treatments!!

  • Comment number 34.

    It is all very well people in high places with high salaries tell us lower mortals to eat better,they can afford it,the price of food is ridiculously high in Britain,just add VAT to your shopping bill and you will find that we have the dearest food in Europa if not the world.Don't believe me? just do a little checking your self and not just rely on "official" figures.

  • Comment number 35.

    Sadly the pressures of modern life make it difficult for families to prepare a meal from scratch every day, so many families rely on processed food in some form (packet mixes, tinned veg etc as well as the more obvious ready meals etc). Some of these products (even for meals one would think are healthy) contain huge levels of salt and fat, it is these hidden fats that are the cause of problems. We know cakes, biscuits are unhealthy and should only be eaten in moderation, but what hope do we have when food manufacturers insist on polluting otherwise healthy foods with salt and fat, because it lowers their costs. give us the information (such as the traffic light system) so we can see how healthy or not all products are at a glance. most people don't have time to read every packet in detail, and the food manufacturers know it and deliberately make it difficult to comprehend.

  • Comment number 36.

    This problem has been known about for years. If Denmark managed to ban them it would not have been difficult for us to push in that direction throughout the EU.

    Yet another piece of previous government inaction that could have greatly benefited the population. Maybe if it had cost a fortune they could have been tempted to act but not to do so was grossly negligent.

  • Comment number 37.

    14. At 10:39am on 22 Jun 2010, Iwantmydinner wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to think they can live on a diet of fast food, biscuits and shop-bought cake (woefully inferior to the home-made kind), then that's their problem.

    Recommended! That sums it up nicely.

  • Comment number 38.

    Any health research that claims saving lives saves the NHS money is blatantly flawed - people who die are very cheap, people who live long lives are expensive.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Wrong my friend.

    People who live long, healthy lives and die in their bed are cheap.

    People who live unhealthily and get diabetes, COPD, Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer... I could go on... Are expensive whenever they die. They usually die younger than healthy people, but cost a lot more.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why can't people be trusted to make their own minds up? Give people all the bare facts and let them decide for themselves. One thing this coutnry seems to be lacking is any kind of personal responsibility - everything is always someonoe else's fault. It's always up to somebody else to decide what I can and can't do - we can't go on like this, surely? Something's got to give.

    Give people back their personal freedom and choice to eat and do whatever they want - maybe then will people start to have little pride in themselves again and whilst that's probably not going to cure all the social ills of the coutnry, it's at least a small step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, we should ban them.

    And stop advertising of rubbish.

    However, the really important thing is to somehow get British society to WANT to eat well.

    There are two reasons why many Mediterranean peoples live healthier lives than we do - especially with a much lower rate of heart disease.

    1. Their diet of tomatoes, olive oil, lots of green veg (including dark green salad leaves), fish and generally home cooked food.

    2. Their passion about their food - how it is produced, how it is cooked, who produces it and so on.

    They don't tolerate cheap, watery tomatoes - they simply wont buy them. So shops are forced to sell decent ones at a decent price.

    In this country we have no pride in our food. We let supermarkets sell us rubbish (while they lie to us about it being the best). We think good quality equals expensive because that is what we have been told by retailers. We buy huge joints of intensively grown meat and end up not eating rubbish but eat far too much quantity. And worst of all we are lazy - we will buy anything because it has the prettiest label - we cant be bothered to find out what we should be eating.

    To get healthier in this country we need to eat LESS as well as eat BETTER.

    People complain that they don't have time to cook, to take time about shopping.

    Rubbish - spend less time on the internet and down the pub, and spend more time enjoying food to the full.

    You will be happier AND healthier.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh yeah because that is going to stop people eating the wrong things isn't it. What a load of crap, especially salt. Yes I know it's bad for us and I personally keep my intake right down but if you take the salt away consumers will most likely just add their own and most likely in higher quantities. It is exactly the same as smoking, we know it's bad for us and you can tell us as much as you like, and you can put images on our cigarette packets and adverts on our TV's put some people know what they want and they will have it regardless of the consequences! And who wants us all to live until we are 120, you wonder why we are becoming such so overpopulated!

  • Comment number 42.

    Healthier foods should be a reasonable price and should not be subsidising over-processed foods.

    It is ludicrous that fresh, unprocessed food is more expensive than stuff that has been processed.

    As someone who has to read food labels due to allergies, I can tell you most processed food has chemicals in it that you would not feed to your dog, so why pay for them and why eat them?

  • Comment number 43.

    All this mumbo jumbo about healthy eating! I read somewhere that if it is from a plant, eat it, if it is made in a plant, avoid it.

  • Comment number 44.

    If eating trans-fats is bad for me, then tell me. OK, so you have done some time ago. Having told me, allow me to take a decision based upon that knowledge. Don't ban it because you think that either I am too stupid to take a decision or you think that I am not stupid just that you know better. How arrogant can you get?

    I also know that crossing the road is bad for me. What are you going to do? Ban crossing roads?

    Walking on thin ice - let ban ice!

    I remember some years ago a report which said that taking a hot shower was bad for you. It appears that minerals in the water go into suspension in the steam and fur your lungs up when you breath in. I'm waiting for showers to be banned.

    This is my life, let me lead it (within limits) how I will. If I choose to do something which may shorten my life, then (within limits) let me do it. If it is suggested that one cannot do anything which shortens ones life, then let's ban cars; ban flying; swimming; climbing trees; playing contact sports; playing non-contact sports etc. In fact, if you wrap me up in cotton wool for my entire life I may live longer than ever(if I haven't committed suicide out of boredom). It's my life, let me lead it as I will; it's my death, let me get there how I wish.

    Ban this; ban that; how about banning mindless useless quangos who come up with this nanny-ish arrogant stance and save some much needed money at the same time. We had enough of the nanny state from nanny labour - let's see if this new lot can get away to a good start by banning anyone from banning something.

  • Comment number 45.

    Okay - the secret's in the name "trans-fats". Not available in chiller section of your local food emporium. For a reason. It's there to help manufacturers keep their products edible for longer not to help your taste buds.

    All I ask is that products with transfats have an icon to this effect and then let me make up my mind whether I want to shove it in my body. Personally I probably wouldn't.

  • Comment number 46.

    Read "The British food industry said it was already leading the world in promoting healthier production." Then yet later read "We found evidence from Poland, the Czech Republic and Cuba that changes in diet can lead to results with improved health in two to three years". So a World leader wasn't already doing this????
    Then again read "They believe that reducing salt and saturated fats, as well as banning trans-fats, would save the NHS more than £1bn." mmmm... harmonious with today's economical crisis. As if anyone before ever cared about what and how much fat you ever ate.
    One can smell the stink, not from the home-cooking but from the words being spoken from their mouths, when they're not stuffed-full that is!

  • Comment number 47.

    "4. At 10:08am on 22 Jun 2010, Simon Hill wrote:
    40,000 of the 150,000 deaths are not preventable - they are postponable.

    Any health research that claims saving lives saves the NHS money is blatantly flawed - people who die are very cheap, people who live long lives are expensive."

    "23 At 11:02am on 22 Jun 2010, Chris mather wrote:
    Brilliant! Wish I'd thought of that. Absolutely correct."

    Rubbish. The ones who die early don't just suddenly drop dead, they spend the years before their deaths in states of very poor health, using up NHS resources. People who live longer lives tend to be healthier and use less of the NHS' resources, despite being alive longer.

    As for the companies making huge profits by selling unhealthy garbage, simply avoid their products. Let them either go out of business, or change their products.

  • Comment number 48.

    Let me see... this substance has no nutritional value and can harm our health... Most people would call something like that a poison. The only thing saving trans-fat's bacon is the 'fat' moniker that makes it seem normal and natural.

    Remove a nutritionless poison from our food system?? Yeah. I think that's a good idea!

  • Comment number 49.

    At 10:10am on 22 Jun 2010, Chris R D wrote:
    "No. Let the responsible, educated and caring people eat sensibly; let the greedy and stupid eat rubbish. Now let Darwinism take its course."

    The greedy and stupid still reproduce, so your natural selection argument falls down.

  • Comment number 50.

    Comment 5 . Chris R D:-

    "No. Let the responsible, educated and caring people eat sensibly; let the greedy and stupid eat rubbish. Now let Darwinism take its course."

    I know you are only being satirical here, but unfortunately even this plan doesn't work. Most of those on a poor diet will live long enough to breed with others of their type, kept alive, if necessary, by the NHS.

    Seriously, it is about time trans-fatty acids were not allowed in processed foods. They are not a necessary part of processing food and are even more dangerous than saturated fats. There is not a healthy level of TFA intake, which puts it on a par with smoking and much worse than alcohol or saturated fat. Commercial inertia has prevented the food industry from protecting the consumer from this poison. This is pretty close to criminal negligence. The fact that some natural foods contain small amounts of TFA is no excuse.

    I have always avoided processed food that have TFA on the list of contents or that I already knew about. I have been doing this for 20 years!!

    Oh!By the way Daily Mail readers, this is not nanny state!

  • Comment number 51.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 52.

    On the day of an budget, when most food is going to go up (the uesual excuses, road haulage/packaging/ wages etc that the supermarkets use to justify price hikes at a time of VAT changes, we do need to think about trans fats, or rather the places that continue to set food draped in it. Maybe we could have a VAT charge on fast food of a higher rate to cover this? I for one dont think it would put resturants/fast food joints/greasy joes out of business, and frankly if it did, that wouldnt be a bad thing.We have too many here, the people they employ are below the radar and do not get even basic wages, putting them out of business would be great. For all the other fast 'food' sellers, it would be a wake up call for them to stop touting rubbish and stop using 4 week old fats for continual refrying. Its disgusting and the smell is awful to walk past, how anyone can eat it I do not know, alas some poeple so if we have to have age old chippys with age old fat, tax them or make them change. Not rocket science, and frankly its over due. We are not a third world country and we dont need to eat or buy rubbish food.

  • Comment number 53.

    It's about time.

    My advice, next time you buy a bag of chips, is to ask what they were cooked in - if it was solid (before heating), try somewhere else.

  • Comment number 54.

    33. At 11:26am on 22 Jun 2010, CladinBlack wrote:
    I don't know why food manufacturers are allowed to put salt and sugar etc in our foods in the first place - they must be getting money from Saxa Salt and Tate & Lyle Sugar to use their products!

    ----

    Thats why you need to check the labels - on absolutely everything.

    The other day i was about to buy a jar of 'Spicey Italian Herb blend' -

    I checked the ingredients and there it was - Sugar.

    Why would any sane person want to season their meat with sugar?

  • Comment number 55.

    Why is it that the majority of products that are bad for us are the ones that supermarkets put on special offer? With the produce that is supposed to be good for us only on offer when it has reached its use by date or best before date?
    I have seen strawberry's at less than half price that on closer inspection are not fit for sale but are according to the use by date still fit for sale.

  • Comment number 56.

    It should be a matter of principle that all products offered for sale which could be dangerous, especially food, should be clearly marked as such with explicit details.

    Yes, colour coding is a good idea.


  • Comment number 57.

    Trans-fats represent the dark side of capitalism.

    Cost-reduction at the expense of the consumer and society.

    Vile.

  • Comment number 58.

    30. At 11:18am on 22 Jun 2010, milvusvestal wrote:

    "August institutions such as NICE ought to be disbanded in the furtherance of removing the nanny state that Labour built."

    I think that NICE is an excellent institution. By being independent it has the freedom to properly investigate new drugs and medical techniques. They check that new drugs and medical techniques are safe before they can be used here, and act as a measure of control on the pharmaceutical industry. Personally, I like the fact that when offered a new treatment by a doctor I know that it is more likely to be effective than not and that the possibility of side-effects is as low as reasonably practical.

    They do, however, go a little too far in this instance. Telling us of the dangers is enough. But lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • Comment number 59.

    Why can't people be trusted to make their own minds up?

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Because people largely don't make their own decisions. They blindly do what corporations tell them to do in expensive adverts.

    Consider America where people wrecked their health with appaling diets even when they don't have free health care. Besides, if it comes down to personal choice, why don't manufacturers label their products more clearly and honestly?

  • Comment number 60.

    The nanny state is alive and well - always telling us how to live, what to eat, what to drink and how to avoid risks "elf and safety" measures. Still I suppose the "quango boys" have to try and justify their mega salaries and perks/bonuses!

  • Comment number 61.

    Time to really tax the companies who use this unnecessary, obesity causing fat. it contributes nothing to the general population, but gives big profits to the manufacturers

  • Comment number 62.

    Comment 34 Friendlyonewhocares:

    "It is all very well people in high places with high salaries tell us lower mortals to eat better,they can afford it,the price of food is ridiculously high in Britain...."

    This is the big myth that processed food is cheaper. Wrong!! Fresh food is cheaper, healthier and tastier, not to mention environmentally friendly. (Tastier here means you can taste the ingredients and not lashings of salt, pepper and artificial flavourings.)

    Processed food is said to be more convenient.

    I prepare fresh pasta sauce in 5 minutes flat. Whilst it is cooking through the pasta itself is cooking. Total cooking time cupboard to table 25 minutes. Recipe includes 1 onion, pinch of sea salt, black pepper, pinch of dried basil or fresh from my own plant, tablespoon of olive oil. Total cost, less than 50p. The kids love it!

    Or for £1.00 you can get pre-prepared pasta sauce containing the following ingredients:-
    Tomato (76%), Tomato Purée (14%), Sugar, Maize Starch, Water, Salt, Onion (1.5%), Olive Oil, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Garlic Purée, Basil, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid; Black Pepper, Oregano.

    You still need to cook it through and cook the pasta. Why you need sugar I do not know. Tomatoes have plenty natural sugar which concentrates during cooking.

    I could give you so many other examples.


  • Comment number 63.

    Trans fats ave been part of the British diet for years and are probably responsible for some of the present obesity epidemic (the manufacturers still claim they make food cheaper & more appetising) as well as the various other health issues for people in later life.
    The companies that have included trans fats in their products should be made to pay the extra costs to the NHS & individuals who have suffered loss of health in the same way that BP is now having to fund the costs from the US oil leak.

  • Comment number 64.

    If it's as dangerous as NICE says, then ban it. It won't bother me, I don't buy ready made food; I prefer to cook my own so that I know what's in it.

    But if anything should be banned, it should be cigarettes; they're addictive and carcinogenic....but they also bring in a shed-load of money in taxes so the Government is quite happy for people to smoke themselves to death.

  • Comment number 65.

    Governments should keep their noses out of our stomachs.

  • Comment number 66.

    Where's 'Hannibal Lector' when you need him ??? IDONTKNOWYOU just can't get the staff these days.

    Maybe the idea of the question has sent him into meltdown!!

    I SAID 'MAYBE THE IDEA OF THE QUESTION HAS SENT HIM INTO MELTDOWN' !!

    'TRANSFATS''..... MELTDOWN..... INTO BISCUITS,CAKES....

  • Comment number 67.

    48. At 11:51am on 22 Jun 2010, Stephen Samuel wrote:

    "Remove a nutritionless poison from our food system?? Yeah. I think that's a good idea!"

    Lets ban caffeine too then. It is also a nutritionless poison, but companies are allowed to market it as a good thing. Any more than two coffees (or colas) a day is bad for you, but NICE aren't campaining for that to be banned. Nor are they wanting to ban pro-plus.

  • Comment number 68.

    Firms like Nestle and Coke should be made to pay a higher tax to sell their unhealthy goods in the UK. Macdonalds should pay more than a fresh sandwich shop. Tescos should pay something as i beleive all their money leaves the country!

  • Comment number 69.

    38. At 11:29am on 22 Jun 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    Wrong my friend.

    People who live long, healthy lives and die in their bed are cheap.

    People who live unhealthily and get diabetes, COPD, Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer... I could go on... Are expensive whenever they die. They usually die younger than healthy people, but cost a lot more.

    ----------------------------------

    For that to be true there would need to be a lot of serious illness for the person to cost more alive than dead. Looking at it simply, if you live longer you require a pension. You require resources. Your only able to contribute for so long before your body packs in.

    Yet the person who has an illness for a few years and dies is cheaper. Obviously this is only the financial aspect of life and is only a small part of it.

    People are alive. Since they are alive they should be allowed to live. This by its definition allows choice. We will all die and I personally wouldnt want to lose that and live forever. Some people like to live healthier lives for the chance for a longer life. Others like to enjoy life while they have it. Neither are wrong.

    Personally I accept there are many ways my life could be lost and most of these our out of my control. I am also aware that evil people try to take away my right to die by my own action/choice! I eat what I want, I dont voulintarily do what I dont want to do and I try not to make my life any more difficult than it needs to be. I am here, I will enjoy my time and then I will die.

    Informing people is good, removing that choice is bad

  • Comment number 70.

    The only decision this has made me reach is that I should stop reading any propaganda issued by the Health Nazis at NICE.

    Its experts say 40,000 of the 150,000 annual deaths are "eminently preventable". Why cant these people just accept that we all have to die of something?

    Or maybe their next call will be to ban breathing, after all anyone whos has ever breathed has died or is going to die! Idiots!

    I'm away for a lie down, it's too much for my blood pressure......


  • Comment number 71.

    14. At 10:39am on 22 Jun 2010, Iwantmydinner wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to think they can live on a diet of fast food, biscuits and shop-bought cake (woefully inferior to the home-made kind), then that's their problem.


    ------------------------------------------

    No thats our problem because we will be funding the medicines and the care that person will get, and that cost is avoidable!

  • Comment number 72.

    I think loads more people would eat healthier, but prices of healthy option food in the stores are expensive, maybe they should reverse prices, make unhealthy food more expensive then the healthier food.

  • Comment number 73.

    No they shouldn't. Life should be about choices, all choices have consequences and as long as everyone can see clearly what the choice is and what the affect is in our food then we can make our own minds up thank you...

    What should be banned is these overpaid quangos and think tanks who cost millions of pounds of taxpayers money for spewing out this rubbish!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    If we all follow the good advise from those NICE people we might be lucky enough to live long enough to get Alzheimer's.

  • Comment number 75.

    It's everyones right to go to hell anyway they want.
    Stop telling me how I should be living my life. JUST GO AWAY.

  • Comment number 76.

    If we all did proper exercise, such as walk to school/bus stop, walk to work/station rather than get in a car, walk to shops if only light shopping is needed - would the fats really be a problem, assuming we're eating an otherwise balanced diet?

  • Comment number 77.

    51. At 11:55am on 22 Jun 2010, Willo wrote:

    Surprisingly, research has shown that less food is both cheaper and less fattening then more food.

    Eat less, lose weight, save money. Win, win situation for fat folk on a budget.

    ---------------------------------------

    I would love to see you on my metabalism but then I am thin, dont really exercise much and eat what I want until I am full. Surprising enough it is the stopping when full that a lot of people dont seem to manage too well.

    I do agree with your comments by the way

  • Comment number 78.

    A ban on trans fat is good but will with that there needs to be a ban on Palm Oil, as the closest alternative!

    Palm Oil cultivation causes far more negative impact than self inflicted bad diets. People can easily avoid these products, but if it mainstream manufacturers increase Palm Oil demand the deforestation and global warming impact will be disproportionate to the health benefit.

  • Comment number 79.

    Unless you’re a child or suffer from some mental deficiency that affects your ability to read and digest labels (acutally, go ahead with digesting the labels; they are are salt & trans fat free), people need to take responsibility for what they eat.
    If we buy products that contain unacceptable levels of trans fat and salt, if we devour them, who makes a profit? Why should they stop making a profit on our bad choices? But corporations would soon stop, if people stopped buying their trans-fatty and/or salted products.
    I take it Britain has food labels on all edible products. Read the labels, make choices. Your choice will force corporations to do the right thing IF you do the right thing.
    Should healthier foods be subsidised?
    No, why add to the deficit when people can take care of this problem themselves.
    Would you like to see colour coding on food products?
    Maybe, but I'd prefer rewarding good corporation by allowing them to post a cheerful heart blatantly evident somewhere on their products. We have a brand of cereal here in Canada that is heart-healthy, and it posts a nice red, cheerful heart on its box. I acknowledgge people are often too busy to read labels, but who's too busy to see that red, cheerful heart?
    Bottom line: Poland, the Czech Republic and Cuba have established that changes in diet can lead to results with improved health in two to three years. Where are the United States, Britain, France, etc in this list?

  • Comment number 80.

    Since having a heart attack twelve months ago, I have lost 3 stone by reducing the saturated fat in my diet. This is not an easy choice to implement, as foods low in saturated fat, particularly ready meals are not easy to find. Neither are receipes, the delight with which James Martin, other chefs and thus indirectly the BBC loads food with ; butter, cheese then double cream annoys me intensly. If this health hazard were smoking then James Martin (& thus the BBC) could be sued.
    Buying food to eat at home is one thing, but it has become vitually impossible to eat out, as the amount of saturated fat & trans fats in restaurant meals, take aways etc can only be guessed at.
    Thus the decision to eat or not eat saturated & trans fats is not really there to be made, as by enlarge their presence is concealed. Were it possible to make the choice, then those choosing to still damage their health would still expect the NHS, tax payer and thus those taking the healthier option to bail them out and provide free care.

  • Comment number 81.

    Chris R D at post 6 writes :-
    “No. Let the responsible, educated and caring people eat sensibly; let the greedy and stupid eat rubbish. Now let Darwinism take its course.”
    My comment-
    Snobs are getting worse. It use to be enough for them to just to feel socially superior to those they regarded as beneath them – now they want them to die. And just who will Chris feel superior too when all the untermensch have died. Someone needs to remind health snobs that their self congratulation does not make them immortal - the grim reaper is no respecter of class – it’s just a case of when not if.

  • Comment number 82.

    NICE should spend our money on improving care to patients where they have refused life enhancing drugs not on matters outside their remit. A fine example on budget day where Quangos and the public sector just make up their own rules awash with our money.

    One quango hopefully for the chop! and something, better and cheaper with a human side to replace it if it needs to be (we seemed to manage before they were invented)

  • Comment number 83.

    Manufacturers have for a long time been adding labelling to products to advise the consumer what's in them. But unfortunately for the manufacturers, the typical consumer who is overweight seem compelled to buy their products as they have the inability to read, or the lack of will power not to buy the product.

    It's not the product at fault, but the lazy consumer, so stop labelling manufacturers as the evil people, and concentrate efforts more on the gluttony of people. Obese people always have to have an excuse, and it's never their own fault is it that they're overweight.

  • Comment number 84.

    48. At 11:51am on 22 Jun 2010, Stephen Samuel wrote:
    Let me see... this substance has no nutritional value and can harm our health... Most people would call something like that a poison. The only thing saving trans-fat's bacon is the 'fat' moniker that makes it seem normal and natural.

    Remove a nutritionless poison from our food system?? Yeah. I think that's a good idea!
    - - - - - - -

    Now i have no lover of Trans Fats. But the problem is you could use those same arguments for banning smoking or drinking.

    SMoking for example has no nutritional value (to my knowledge). Also it could be classed as a poison. Then there is the added issue of second hand smoke. So even if you don't smoke you may have problems if people near you smoke.

    The worry then is that we end up with a nanny state where what we can consume is decided for us.

  • Comment number 85.

    Are 'trans-fats' actually harmful per ce? If so why the hell are we adding them to our food? Or is it that eating too much food containing 'trans-fats' (or any fats) is generally not a good idea as it will make you potentially fatter and unhealthy?

    As 'trans-fats' prolong shelf-life, by removing them aren't we just going to increase the amount of food that goes out of date/bad without being eaten; which if I remember rightly is another stick we get beaten with from time to time?

  • Comment number 86.

    If this is going to be a ban in England, I will have to go north of the border and by my cakes in Scotland where I can, presumably, have as much trans-fatty stuff as I want.

    When I was at school, we did home economics. I learned how to cook there and from my mother - our family wasn't huge in terms of numbers but mum often cooked extra "while the oven's on" and put the extra portions in the freezer for later. I also learned to bake cakes and biscuits, it's not difficult and it certainly isn't particularly time-consuming. If I want cake, I can usually knock one together in half an hour. Might take a bit longer if you want icing on it though.

    Nanny, just leave us alone. Most of us can make our own decisions and to be perfectly honest we're heartily sick of you telling us how to live our lives. Now shut up, and pass me the vodka.

  • Comment number 87.

    coolhandpaul wrote:
    Any health research that claims saving lives saves the NHS money is blatantly flawed - people who die are very cheap, people who live long lives are expensive.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Wrong my friend.
    People who live long, healthy lives and die in their bed are cheap.
    People who live unhealthily and get diabetes, COPD, Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer... I could go on... Are expensive whenever they die. They usually die younger than healthy people, but cost a lot more.



    I'm afraid it is you that is wrong.

    Smokers and the obese cheaper to care for, study shows

    Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it does not save money, according to a new report.

    It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars...

    The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.

    On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 years and obese people lived about 80 years. Smokers and obese people tended to have more heart disease than the healthy people.

    Cancer incidence, except for lung cancer, was the same in all three groups. Obese people had the most diabetes, and healthy people had the most strokes. Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on.

    The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000.

    The results counter the common perception that preventing obesity will save health systems worldwide millions of dollars.


    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05iht-obese.1.9748884.html?_r=2

  • Comment number 88.

    "53. At 12:03pm on 22 Jun 2010, rob0x41 wrote:
    My advice, next time you buy a bag of chips, is to ask what they were cooked in - if it was solid (before heating), try somewhere else."

    If I want your advice I'll ask for it. Until then, please keep your advice to yourself, or find someone who does want it (anybody???)

  • Comment number 89.

    34. At 11:28am on 22 Jun 2010, friendlyonewhocares wrote:
    It is all very well people in high places with high salaries tell us lower mortals to eat better,they can afford it,the price of food is ridiculously high in Britain,just add VAT to your shopping bill and you will find that we have the dearest food in Europa if not the world.Don't believe me? just do a little checking your self and not just rely on "official" figures.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Whilst I understand the point you are trying to make with yor comment, I regret that you are wrong and even those on a tight budget (such as myself) can afford to eat healthily. Its a case of thinking creatively and outside of the box.

    The problem is, people either just don't know how to get started, or they just can't be bothered. For a great many people here in the UK, eating is a chore that they just wanna get through. I love food and can create something wonderful on a pretty meagre budget.

    No need for excess salts, sugars or fats - just good food!

    great! Now i'm hungry


  • Comment number 90.

    I am sick and tired of this country telling us what we should eat, drink and everything else, it should be up to the individual what they eat not told what to eat i am an average size person, i never fry anything only grill but i do like proper food, i like whole milk cant stand the low fat crap, if you want it fine but dont take my choice away,too much nanny state i pay for any treatment i have through my tax and national insurance that i pay i have worked all my life luckily, what a nasty country this has become when i hear people say well the fat people should pay extra i am probably classed as obese but i work full time , cycle and ice skate i dont sit around eating all the time what a disgrace this country has become full of nasty narrow minded people. Dont think all big people sit around all day some may i certainly dont thank you i work hard and i am entitled to live a life that i want

  • Comment number 91.

    it's not at all so simple. some people stuff themselves with 'bad' food because they like it, not because they do not necessarily know what it contains. I have a friend with a PhD in biochemistry who takes all sorts of 'health' supplements and makes daily 'health' checks, but is clinically obese and has health problems yet seems unable to make one of the most basic of lifestyle changes of not stuffing biscuits, cakes and high-carbohydrate foodstuffs (comfort eating) and not taking sufficient exercise that would increase her chances of living a less risk-free more healthy and longer life

    trans fats have always been around and lots of us older people are none the worse for that - you can't just keep banning things for the excesses of some people - for a start, eating too many carrots is not good for you, likewise too much of anything and everything is none too good either

    the traffic light system as practised by supermarkets such as Sainsburys is excellent in reminding one of what's in a product and you can then make an informed choice on that basis

    if I choose to eat and enjoy fish and chips or an iced doughnut once in a while I don't see why I should be penalized just because some fat woman buys one every day together with a huge packet of some chocolate things

    I am beginning to think that for some people the 'psychological' need of eating trans fats etc. far outweighs commonsense - think about that NICE

  • Comment number 92.

    71. At 12:30pm on 22 Jun 2010, D wrote:

    14. At 10:39am on 22 Jun 2010, Iwantmydinner wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to think they can live on a diet of fast food, biscuits and shop-bought cake (woefully inferior to the home-made kind), then that's their problem.


    ------------------------------------------

    No thats our problem because we will be funding the medicines and the care that person will get, and that cost is avoidable!

    ------------------------------------------

    So, if I understand this correctly... because choices someone may make, might impact your wallet, you should take decisions for them and tell them how to lead their life.

    What a horrible and dangerous future you are painting. i think I'll OD on trans-fats and get it over with.

  • Comment number 93.

    Although I don't like the nanny-ness of regulating trans fats I don't think leaving it up the consumers is a good idea. Rarely the consumers are offered a genuine choice in a shop ... and if there is choice between for example donuts than 9 out of 10 they're equivalently bad.
    This has little to do with eating healthy, but more on producing less unhealthy food. The producers can use viable alternatives which are just as tasty. It might shorten the shelf-life but this is more of logistic problem then other.

  • Comment number 94.

    "How about as a start making it more difficult to open fast food outlets by, for example, restricting the number in any one area? I live in an area where there are 10 outlets within a very short distance - this surely is too many?"

    Almost there and you've got a brilliant idea. Don't restrict the number. Restrict the size of the doors. Once fat people can't get inside to order then they'll have to stop eating fast food.

  • Comment number 95.

    69. At 12:27pm on 22 Jun 2010, in_the_uk wrote:

    I won't repeat the whole post - just ask that you look up how much a course of treatment for someone with diabetes costs, or a course of cancer treatment, or treatment for COPD over a lifetime.

    The treatment is thousands more than a 15 year pension would cost the taxpayer. (making a pesron 80y.o.

    Look up DALY's and see the financial cost of ill health v good health.

    An unhealthy lifestyle leading to treatment for 30 years costs way more than a healthy lifestyle for 30 years.

    People live longer with ill health, because of the advances in treatment. But they cost a lot more.

    You are right about choice, but responsibility is also there. Maybe you think costing the NHS a fortune over an unhealthy lifetime is OK and that's your choice. But I don't and that's my choice.

  • Comment number 96.

    "Should we change our eating habits?"

    Absolutely, eat less and eat sensibly, that is a far better option than a ban that will have the food in my larder going off sooner.

  • Comment number 97.

    This is nothing to do with 'nanny state' as many HYSers are suggesting.

    The fact is more and more preservatives are added to our food by manufacturers with absolutely no concern other than prolonging the life of their products to increase profits.

    Although they print these 'ingredients' on the packet the vaste majority of people will have no clue what many of them are and the possible effects to their health. How many of you know what 'Benzideme Halcymide' is? To be honest, I made it up to make point...all sorts of wierd and wonderful names such as this are printed on packets of food we eat and give to our kids, but we do so in complete ignorance. This stuff isn't just in junk convenience foods, but also many other seemingly 'healthy' products.

    If I gave you a glass of water and told you i'd put 'hydryde mythoxine' in it you wouldn't just drink it would you...you rightly ask 'what is that?' and 'will it effect my health?'. If it didn't add any nutritional value and didn't make it taste any better and there was a possibility it could damage your health would you still want to drink it??

    This report makes a fair point that this is exactly what many manufacturers are doing and it's just plain wrong on so many levels.

  • Comment number 98.

    "#68. At 12:27pm on 22 Jun 2010, D wrote:
    Firms like Nestle and Coke should be made to pay a higher tax to sell their unhealthy goods in the UK. Macdonalds should pay more than a fresh sandwich shop. Tescos should pay something as i beleive all their money leaves the country!"

    And you can all send the bill for the increase in your grocery shop to 'D'.

    I hoped we'd seen the end of 'tax and ban', at least for a while.

  • Comment number 99.

    On Budget Day a simple idea, make ALL products that contain Trans Fats Liable to VAT on their full retail price.
    That presumes of course that food remains VAT free.

  • Comment number 100.

    59. At 12:15pm on 22 Jun 2010, BaldLea wrote:
    "Why can't people be trusted to make their own minds up?"

    Before this report came out did you know what 'trans-fats' were, exactly what foods they're in and what impact they have on your health??

    I'd suggest probably not...and why would you? You're not a nutritional scientist of any kind. Please don't tell me 'you could research it on the internet' - there is as much untruth, lies and spin on the internet as there are truths and facts. Independant expert research as done in this case is crucial in bringing the true facts to the masses and giving them the ability to make choice. That said, it seems this is being added to an aweful lot of different foods, which often makes it hard to avoid...unless of course you want to live on lentils and organic veg alone?

 

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