News story

Behind the headlines: calorie guidelines remain unchanged

PHE clarifies recent media coverage about an upcoming calorie campaign.

Over the past couple of days, the national media has reported on Public Health England’s (PHE) upcoming campaign on calories. Much of the coverage suggests PHE is changing the guidelines on how many calories people should consume in a day. This is incorrect. Below are the facts about calorie guidelines and the campaign.

The government dietary recommendations on how many calories the population should consume in a day to maintain a healthy weight have not changed. Women should still aim to consume 2,000 calories a day from food and drink, men should aim for 2,500.

The new campaign, due to launch in the spring of 2018, aims to help people be more aware of and reduce how many calories they consume from the 3 main meals of the day, in particular when eating on the go. There will be a simple rule of thumb to help them do this: 400:600:600 – people should aim for 400 calories from breakfast and 600 each from lunch and dinner.

The rule of thumb is based on the principle that’s been in healthier and more sustainable catering: nutrition principles for years: on average, 20% of daily energy and nutrients should come from breakfast and 30% from both lunch and dinner. All other snacks and drink consumed between meals should make up the difference.

What is new about this campaign is that we are working with high street food chains to offer healthier choices and help get the message out there that many of the extra calories being consumed are out of the home.

We are absolutely not telling the public what to do but to give them the facts and one of these is that two thirds of us are overweight or obese and this is largely to do with eating too much. As we are the sixth most overweight nation on the planet, we believe it is a sensible thing to do.

Published 28 December 2017