Ban bad fats and cut salt to save 40,000 lives a year- killer quango Nice demands
Cutting the average consumption of salt from eight grams a day to three would save up to 20,000 lives year and reducing fat would save even more, new guidelines from the killer quango pontificates.Sweeping changes in food production, government policy and lifestyle could prevent tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year in Britain and save billions for the economy, the National Institute for Curbing Expenditure has said in new guidance.
Food producers should cut the amount of saturated fat in food and eliminate all ‘toxic’ artificial fats, called trans fats, completely.
Trans fats are added to food to prolong shelf life, have no nutritional value and have been linked to heart disease.
Ministers should consider introducing legislation if action is not forthcoming by manufacturers, the guidance said.
The average person in Britain consumes more than eight grams of salt a day where as the body only requires one gram to function. Targets are already in place to reduce consumption to six grams by 2015 and this should be extended to three grams by 2050, the guidance said.
Children should consume considerably less salt than adults and because the bulk of salt in the diet comes from prepared food, such as bread, cereal, soups, meat and cheese products, manufacturers have a key part to play, the guidance said.
The guidance, drawn from evidence of beneficial measures, was commissioned by the Department of Health and covers population based measures rather than advice for individuals. It calls for action from a range of public bodies, business and Europe, but is not binding.
There are around five million people living with the effects of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attacks, heart disease and stroke. There are around 150,000 deaths each year and while mortality rates have fallen, there are 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in Britain.
The Nice panel has calculated that 40,000 deaths a year could be prevented by significant reductions in salt and saturated fat consumption and if all trans fats were eliminated from prepared foods.
The guidance has called for a wide range of measures including:
– Low salt and fat foods should be sold more cheaply than their unhealthy counterparts, through the use of subsidies if necessary, although the guidance stopped short of calling for a ‘fat tax’ on high salt and fat foods saying this was difficult to implement.
– Advertising of unhealthy foods to children should be banned until after 9pm and planning laws should be used to restrict the numbers of fast food outlets, especially near schools.
– The Common Agricultural Policy should focus more on public health with farmers paid to produce healthier foods.
– Action should also be taken to introduce a traffic light food labelling system, the Nice panel said, even though the European Parliament recently voted this down.
– Local authorities must also act to encourage walking and cycling in their areas and public sector caterers must provide healthier meals as has already been seen in schools, the guidance said.
– All lobbying of government and its agencies by the food and drink industry should be fully disclosed.
Professor Klim McPherson, Chairman of the Nice Guidance Development Group and professor of epidemiology at Oxford University, said: “The guidance sets out a range of evidence-based recommendations for effective action to help reduce CVD levels.
“Where food is concerned, we want the healthy choice to be the easy choice. Going even further, we want the healthy choice to be the less expensive, more attractive choice. Just one of the recommendations is reducing saturated fats and removing trans fats from the diet – this can save over 20,000 lives every year.
“Put simply, this guidance can help the Government and the food industry to take action to prevent huge numbers of unnecessary deaths and illnesses caused by heart disease and stroke.”