Diet and Nutrition … Will It Ever Get Simpler?

The word diet literally means “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats” but in our society nowadays, diet is usually associated with the way in which people are trying to lose weight. With 63% of all UK adults now being classed as overweight or obese – that’s 35 million people – conscious eating is more important now than ever.


What ‘diet’ is best for you though?

Depending on who you talk to or where you go for your answers, you will probably receive conflicting information. Keto dieters will advise you that removing carbohydrates from your diet is the best route to take. People who follow a vegan diet will advise you of all the benefits of cutting animal products our of your diet. Intermittent fasters will advise how effective it is for losing weight.


Why can’t it just be simple?

Conscious of the growing obesity rate, the UK Government and NHS have tried to make things simpler and easier for us to understand. However, advice about eating your ‘5 a day’ – referring to consuming more fruit and vegetables – as well as The Eatwell Guide – which shows us how much of eat food group we should eat to achieve a healthy balanced diet -, have not been effective enough. So, in 2014 the traffic light label was introduced to give consumers an immediate idea of how healthy the product is.


Nowadays it’s hard to find a product without a traffic light system on it, but does everyone understand it?

Well, according to IGD research, a large percentage of people do not fully understand the traffic light system causing a lot of people to not really understand what they are eating. In an attempt to help people understand, many companies have now invented apps which have barcode scanners and help advise which products to pick up from the shops.

Yuka, which has 20 million users in 11 countries, is one of the biggest apps and was first launched in France in 2017. The app enables you to scan the barcode of food in your supermarket aisles and provides you with an overall evaluation of the product. With a score out a 100 as well as a visual colour-coded indicator it is said to help consumers avoid getting “lost in the dietary jungle” – according to the app developer, Julie Chapon.

The scoring system used by Yuka and several other similar apps, is based on the Nutri-Score which is used on the front of packs widely in Europe. This scoring system has a five-colour coded system from A to E which each indicates the nutritional value of the item. The scoring is based on a scientific algorithm which considers which nutrients to increase (i.e protein, vegetables, fibre, fruit and nuts) as well as the nutrients to reduce (for example, salt, sugars and saturated fats). Developed by the British Food Standard Agency, this method is believed to be more beneficial as it points consumers in a more positive direction, promoting a moderated and balanced diet.

Achieving a balanced, healthy diet is the ultimate goal, and with constantly developing technology, it may start to get simpler for us all … here’s hoping!



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