Because food pyramids are well and truly past
The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) recently launched their Wellbeing Guidelines which reflect current research and knowledge gained in the fields of nutrition, genetics and microbiology.
As there have been no official updates on diet, lifestyle and health guidelines since the government issued The Eatwell Plate twenty years ago, BANT has identified the need to support members of the public with an up-to-date guide providing easy to understand and practical information.
With the advance of nutrigenetics and our understanding of how genetic expression can change in response to the environment, it is becoming much more clear why individuals respond differently to diet. More than ever before we can appreciate the core principle of Nutritional Therapy which states that each person presents with different nutritional needs at different times of their lives. The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines are based on the premise that everyone is unique and nutrient requirements should reflect that. The new guidelines also take into account individual circumstances and personal objectives. The guidelines form the basis of a healthy lifestyle but variations should always be expected according to individual and metabolic profiling developed in clinic by Nutritional Therapy analysis. Individual health condition, exercise and stress levels are considered as essential aspects capable of influencing someone’s needs for nutritional support. The guidelines also accept the fact that each person has a unique ‘food reactome’ – a complex interaction taking place between food consumed and the bacteria living in the gut. Each person harbours a universe of microbes which influence not only the way they react to foods but also genetic expression and immune balance. This universe of microbes is distinctive to individuals and responds to changes in diet and other aspects of lifestyle.
Current research evidence shows that these aspects have a fundamental impact on health and should therefore be integrative to dietary modification for wellbeing. The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines reflect the most well researched and up-to-date information available. They share some good basic principles that support a healthy diet though it is important to highlight that BANT developed these guidelines based on the premise that nutritional requirements must be personalised. BANT recommends consulting a Registered Nutritional Therapist for further advice and the fine tuning of individual dietary recommendations.
The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines take an over-arching approach to health and make mention of other significant factors such as sleep, exercise, hydration and supplements. Evidence and experience tells us that these are important determinants of health, both in the short-term and long-term. The correct nutrients, together with sleep, exercise and hydration can lead to more sustainable health and wellbeing in the long term. The guidelines also differentiate food groups within wider categories calling attention to the fact that fruit, vegetables and legumes (such as beans for example) should not be grouped together as they can influence health very differently. For example, the guidelines state that vegetables may be consumed without limitations whilst fruit should be restricted to about 1 or 2 pieces a day. The sugar content of fruit, as well as the nutrient density, differ from vegetables and their impact on health outcomes may vary from positive to negative, especially considering individuals who are faced with common health conditions and chronic diseases. Even within the vegetable category, it is important to notice differences between root/starchy vegetables and their leafy green counterparts in terms of how these vegetables may impact health differently within a therapeutic scenario. It is worth mentioning that several other countries already recommend more than the 5-a-day intake of vegetables promoted by the UK government.
These are some of the key innovative aspects covered by the Wellbeing Guidelines which present the public with concise yet accurate information in an easy to follow format. In keeping with the acknowledgement of the fast moving pace of research within the field of nutrition, BANT has scheduled a review of the guidelines for 3 years-time.
According to BANT:
“Current evidence indicates that one-size-fits-all models are outdated and that clinically meaningful promotion of metabolic function can be achieved by means of a variety of dietary approaches. BANT nutrition health experts are uniquely trained to understand how nutrients, other foods and lifestyle factors influence the function of the body by considering biochemical individuality in a patient-centred manner.”
For more information or to download the guidelines visit this link on the BANT web site or contact a Nutritional Therapist for a consultation.