No improvement to diets
Health: Scots still eating too many foods high in sugars and saturated fat
Little progress has been made in improving the diet of Scots over the past 15 years, new research has found.
The study by Robert Gordon, Abertay and Newcastle universities found no increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables and of oily fish over the period.
Meanwhile, the energy density of diets has increased, and while there was a small reduction in the levels of free sugars and saturated fat, they still remain too high in relation to national dietary goals.
Red and processed meat consumption did reduce over the period, with the average level on target.
Households in the most deprived areas of the country were found to eat significantly less fruit, vegetables, oil-rich fish and fibre than those in the wealthiest areas.
Nutritionist Dr Karen Barton from Abertay University said: “We found differences in dietary intake by deprivation – with households in the most deprived areas consuming significantly less fruit, vegetables, oilrich fish and fibre than those in the least deprived areas.
“However, intakes for all groups of the population were considerably lower than the Scottish Dietary Goals.
“The fruit and vegetable recommendation in particular is well-known – five portions per day – but that awareness does not seem to translate into changes in our dietary behaviour.”
Principal investigator and nutritionist Dr Lindsey Masson added: “In Scotland, 65% of adults are overweight and 29% of adults are obese.
“Therefore, it is essential that we reduce our consumption of foods that are high in sugar and fat – namely biscuits, confectionery, crisps, cakes, pastries, puddings and sugary drinks.
“In addition to raising awareness of the health benefits, the Scottish Government needs to support the population to achieve these goals.”
Researchers used food purchase data from the UK living costs and food survey to look at trends in food consumption and nutrient intakes between 2013 and 2015, and comparing these to figures from 2001 to 2012.
The study was designed to monitor progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals, as last updated in 2016.
“In Scotland, 65% of adults are overweight and 29% are obese”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Oily fish, such as smoked salmon, is not consumed as often as recommended by the Scottish Dietary Goals