Charging more for low-fat foods 'adds to heart risks'
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Wednesday 19 October 1994
Eating low-fat foods is the most popular route to a better diet, according to research by the Food Commission. However, many manufacturers appear to view lower-fat products as 'upmarket products aimed at higher-income shoppers rather than as regular items that can be afforded by all consumers', it adds.
One result is that, despite the Government's target of reducing fat in the average diet from 40 to 35 per cent, the amount of fat Britons eat as a proportion of total food energy has remained virtually static for more than 20 years.
A survey by the commission, an independent research group, compared standard products such as biscuits, burgers, cheese, ice cream, crisps and sausages with their 'low-fat' counterparts and found most of the healthier foods were more expensive.
The report says the price premium cannot be explained by different ingredients. Some healthier foods cost the same as their higher-fat counterparts and a small minority were cheaper. The commission describes the premiums as unjustified and points out that, where low-fat alternatives are widely available at comparable prices, as with milk and margarine, sales have soared.
A survey of consumers found that eating low-fat foods was the most popular means of changing to a healthier diet, with 97 per cent preferring it to eating more fruit and vegetables (77 per cent) and cutting back on red meat (39 per cent). 'Blind' testings of full and low-fat foods by a panel of consumers have also found that, contrary to popular belief, there is little difference in taste.
The study, which is contained in the latest issue of Living Earth and The Food Magazine, adds that unless a wide range of reasonably priced, reduced-fat foods are available, the impact on the national diet will be negligible.
The commission also urges the Government to keep its promise to tighten up definitions of terms such as 'low-fat' and 'lite', which continue to 'mislead and confuse' consumers.
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Oscar Pistorius terrorised Reeva before he shot her dead, says June Steenkamp
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This an exciting opportunity to...
£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Lift Engineer is required to jo...
£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company (Microsoft World W...