Top Nutrition News Headlines 4 Dec – A Nutrilicious digest

Top Nutrition News Headlines 4 Dec – A Nutrilicious digest

Each week we analyse some of the hot headlines in health and nutrition news. This week cheese; obesity & diabetes/cancer risk; and sugar reduction in Kellogg’s cereals.

 

HEADLINE 1: A piece of cheese a day keeps the doctor away

Picked up in the news this week by the Daily Mail, The Express, The Sun, The Independent and The Guardian is the suggestion that eating cheese could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

This is based on a meta-analysis of studies which concluded that consuming 40g of cheese per day reduced the risk of heart attack by 14% and stroke by 10%.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

While cheese lovers are likely to have rejoiced, there are limitations to the research on which the headlines were based. The lack of randomised controlled trials included within the meta-analysis means that no causal relationship can be assumed between eating cheese and risk of heart disease. There are far too many factors which could interfere with the results.

Interestingly, there are previous large studies that have found no association between heart disease and eating cheese. Again, it can be hard to prove that it is the cheese eating that is causing the effects.  

The harm that eating too much cheese can cause to health is well documented. Although it is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin B12, it can also be high in saturated fats. Having too much saturated fat in the diet can increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is an established risk factor for heart disease. A 30g portion of cheddar cheese (a matchbox size) contains 6.5g saturated fat (over a quarter of the reference intake for saturated fat – 20g). It can also be quite easy to go above this recommended portion size. 

Some cheeses can be high in salt and there is a lot of evidence to show that too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Cheese can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation and can provide a valuable source of various nutrients. Sticking to the recommended 30g portion size and opting for lower fat varieties such as lighter/reduced fat cheddars, cottage cheese and ricotta, can help ensure we don’t exceed our recommended maximum amount of saturated fat.

Moreover, foods such as low-fat yogurts and lower fat milks can also provide us with calcium and protein (two of the key nutrients found in cheese) but provide less saturated fats (as well as fewer calories, which would be helpful for those trying to lose weight).

For more information, go to British Heart Foundation and the NHS

 

HEADLINE 2: Diabetes is a key factor in WORLDWIDE cancer surge

The Express, The Sun and The Daily Mail reported on a finding that diabetes and obesity have been linked to causing cancer.

Researchers found that people with a high BMI (defined as above 25kg/m) who also had diabetes were behind 5.6% of new cancer cases globally, affecting 792,600 people in 2012. The method used was through assessing the increase in new cases of 18 cancers based on the prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries (using data about BMI and diabetes in 2002 and cancers recorded in 2012).

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This is an interesting study as it is the first study to have looked at the combined effect of having diabetes and obesity on cancer risk. Whilst the headlines alert us to the finding that over 5% of cancers were attributable to diabetes and cancer, there were significant differences between various groups of people, regions and types of cancer which should be noted. These are discussed in the original study. For example, cancers attributable to diabetes and being overweight were nearly twice as common in women (496,700 cases) as they were in men (295,900 cases).

It should be noted that there were limitations of the study. It is questionable whether the 10-year gap used between recording diabetes and high BMI to cancer incidence is entirely appropriate to enable conclusions to be drawn, as recognised by the researchers.

What we understand already is that obesity is certainly a risk factor for cancer. Analysis conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund has found that being overweight (BMI 25kg- 29.9/m) or obese (BMI 30kg/m and above) increases the risk of 11 types of cancer.

The Diabetes UK website outlines the link between diabetes and cancer. Some of the complications associated with diabetes can increase the risk of cancer. However, well-managed diabetes can help reduce the risk of any complications. Diabetes UK have given their thoughts on this study and stated that, “Diabetes doesn’t directly cause cancer, but this study adds to the evidence that having diabetes can increase the risk of certain types of cancer.”

The main message to take home from these headlines is that the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes may lead to an increase in risk of certain cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, keeping physically active, not smoking, and not exceeding the government guidelines for alcohol consumption can all help lower the risk of diabetes and cancer.

For more information, go to Diabetes UK and WCRF

 

HEADLINE 3: Kellogg’s to cut sugar in kids’ cereals by up to 40%

Also in the news this week is the announcement that Kellogg’s will cut the sugar levels in children’s cereals by up to 40%. This was reported by the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, The Times and The Sun.

Kellogg’s have said they will reduce sugar levels by 20-40% by the middle of 2018 for Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes. They are also going to stop making Ricicles from January 2018, due to the amount of sugar in the cereal, and are putting a stop to on-pack promotions aimed at children on Frosties.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This is a very positive and encouraging move from Kellogg’s as the battle to reduce sugar consumption in the UK continues.

In March this year, officials at Public Health England called on food firms to cut sugar by 5% by the end of this year and by 20% by 2020. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition currently advise that free sugar intake in the UK should account for no more than 5% of our daily energy intake. Advice for the different age groups is as follows:

  • Children 4-6 years – no more than 19g free sugars per day (5 teaspoons)
  • Children 7-10 years – no more than 24g free sugars per day (6 teaspoons)
  • Children 11 years + and adults – no more than 30g free sugars per day (7 teaspoons)  

Although not the highest source of sugar in our diets, cereals do contribute to daily intake, with the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey highlighting that cereals are responsible for 5% of the added sugar intakes of adults and 6-8% of that of 4-10-year olds and teens. In our blog post last year A Health Check on New Breakfast Opportunities we discussed the need for more breakfast options to offer lower sugar choices and so this certainly is a positive step forward. With gradually a lesser number of options available that are high in sugar, it may be less overwhelming for consumers to make healthier choices.

Here is how much sugar is currently in the Kellogg’s products and how much they are to be reduced by:

  • Coco Pops – 9g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 5.1g per 30g serving (40% reduction, changing from about 2 teaspoons of sugar to just over 1 teaspoon).
  • Rice Krispies – 3g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 2.4g per 30g serving (20% reduction, changing from ¾ teaspoon of sugar to a little under 2/3 teaspoon of sugar).
  • Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes – 6.3g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 4.5g per 30g serving (30% reduction, changing from about 1.5 teaspoons of sugar to just over 1 teaspoon)

A step forward to reduce the sugar content of any foods available on the market can only surely be a positive one.

For more information, go to Kellogg’s – Sugar and Breakfast Cereal and SACN 2015 – Carbohydrates and Health Report 

WWF Livewell report aims for ‘diets that are good for both people and the planet’

WWF Livewell report aims for ‘diets that are good for both people and the planet’

A new World Wildlife Research Fund (WWF) report, Eating for 2 Degrees – New and Updated Livewell Plates, calls on the UK Government and Climate Change Committee to set goals for reducing emissions from the food sector. Following-up from the original 2011 WWF Livewell report, it aims to ‘provide diets that are good for both people and the planet.’

There are new plates developed specifically for adolescents (10­­–17 years old), adults (18–64), the elderly (65–85) and vegans. They illustrate the absolute minimal dietary changes needed by 2030 to keep below a two-degree rise in global temperature, as per the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The new Livewell Plates are described as,”representative diets that meet national nutritional requirements while reducing the environmental footprint of the food system that produces them.”

The Plates were based on modelling from Public Health England’s Eatwell Guide and current dietary intakes as baselines. They aim to create a diet with the fewest possible changes to current recommendations while meeting the restrictions imposed. In general, they contain more plant foods, particularly those that are nutrient dense such as vegetables, wholegrain cereals products, nuts, legumes and vegetable oils.

This report builds on thinking on healthy sustainable diets that we are increasingly seeing from consumer and public health organisations and think tanks. And the WWF believe it’s time that the UK Government implements healthy eating advice that also integrates sustainability.

The authors hope to develop additional Plates in future, including one for infants and primary school children, as well as country-specific Plates.

What are the Livewell Principles?

People are advised to follow the following Livewell Principles:

  1. Eat more plants – enjoy vegetables and whole grains
  2. Eat a variety of foods – have a colourful plate
  3. Waste less food – one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted
  4. Moderate your meat consumption, both red and white – enjoy other sources of protein such as peas, beans and nuts
  5. Buy food that meets a credible certified standard – consider MSC, free-range and fair trade
  6. Eat fewer foods high in fat, salt and sugar – keep foods such as cakes, sweets and chocolate as well as cured meat, fries and crisps to an occasional treat. Choose water, avoid sugary drinks and remember that juices only account for one of your 5-a-day however much you drink.

Changes we think should be implemented in light of the report

  • Food businesses including manufacturers and caterers should be looking at ways of including more plant foods in general into their products and menus, and using credible certified standards where these are available.
  • Food service in particular can look at ways of promoting their expanding range of plant-based options. A new scheme from Veganuary, The Humane League UK and Vegan Chef Day gives a good example of raising awareness.
  • Retailers should be looking at ways of shifting their promotional budgets away from high fat, salt, sugar foods and towards the core foods in the Eatwell Guide and Livewell Plates.
  • We are already seeing a shift in reported consumption of animal products by consumers. A recent report from Mintel suggesting 28% of Brits have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the last six months. Consumers can further support their efforts towards more sustainable diets by thinking more holistically – eating more plants, wasting less, and so on.

Top nutrition headlines 27 Nov – A Nutrilicious digest

Each week we analyse some of the hot headlines in health and nutrition news. This week: Breast cancer in larger women; vitamin D and arthritis; and health benefits of coffee.

 

HEADLINE 1: Breast cancer tumours ‘larger’ in overweight women

The BBC, Daily Mail and The Telegraph picked up on a Swedish study which found that cancerous breast lumps are less likely to be detected in overweight or obese women before the tumour becomes large. The suggestion is that they should therefore be offered more regular screening.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

It is unclear for definite why cancerous lumps are less likely to be detected in women with high BMI. It could be because the tumours are growing at a faster rate or it could be that because their breasts are larger, the tumours were harder to find.

Current guidelines for screening in the UK are that all women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years. Cancer Research UK have spoken out regarding this study, stating that it does not provide enough evidence to support a change in the guidelines.

In terms of breast cancer prevention, the role of Body Mass Index (BMI) has been recognised by Cancer Research UK, whereby being overweight (BMI 25-29.9kg/m2) or obese (BMI 30kg/m2 and above) is a known risk factor. Although screening guidelines are to remain the same, this study further reiterates the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
Calculate your BMI

 

HEADLINE 2: Vitamin D may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, suggests study

The Guardian reported on a laboratory study that investigated the role of vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), following previous research showing it might have anti-inflammatory effects.

It was found that in non-diseased tissue, the immune cells responded well to active vitamin D. In contrast, the tissue from inflamed joints in people with RA was much less effective in responsiveness to vitamin D.

The researchers suggested that vitamin D supplementation may therefore be able to help prevent the onset of RA. They also said that while it is vitamin D is unlikely to be a successful treatment for established RA patients, if there was a route to make the diseased cells respond to vitamin D, then potentially this could help with treatment options. Another suggestion is that vitamin D supplementation may help with the prevention of inflammatory conditions such as RA. .

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This was a small laboratory study that only involved 15 participants and much more research is needed to investigate why the RA cells were insensitive to vitamin D. Although useful in understanding vitamin D in RA, we cannot draw conclusions regarding the use of vitamin D supplements to either prevent or potentially help treat people with RA. The suggestions are pure speculation; there would be a lot more research needed to investigate both of these points

Regardless of the potential effects on inflammation, the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition advise that all adults and children over the age of one should be taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months (October to March). With our main source of vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, it can be hard to get adequate supplies in these months. Although we can obtain vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, eggs, red meat and liver, sources are limited so supplements are a better way of being sure.

For more information, go to
BDA Food Facts, Vitamin D
Arthritis UK, Diet and Arthritis

 

HEADLINE 3: Three cups of coffee a day ‘may have health benefits’

News outlets once again jumped on a ‘healthy coffee’ study, with the BBC, ABC News, Daily Mail and The Guardian picking up on a study which looked into previous research into coffee and health. The researchers looked into more than 200 studies, most of which were observational by design.

Those who drank three cups of coffee per day appeared to reduce their risk of heart disease and of death from heart disease. The most notable benefits were the effects on liver disease and liver cancer, with coffee drinking reducing the risk.

Behind the headlines: The Nutrilicious dietetic view

In last week’s Nutrition News Digest we also reported on a study that found benefits of coffee drinking and reducing the risk of liver cancer.

Although this week’s study backs up recent research, similarly to last week it cannot prove that it is actually the coffee drinking causing the effects seen. There are many factors, including the lifestyle of coffee drinkers, which may contribute to the effects. Moreover, most of the studies included within the analysis were of low quality – as recognised by the researchers.

The headlines focus on the positive aspects of coffee drinking. Although most of the effects were found to be positive in this research, some of the studies also showed a harmful health outcome (e.g. for fracture risk in women).

There is a useful summary of the current evidence into coffee and health in an editorial in the British Medical Journal, Coffee gets a clean bill of health, which discusses the questions many people may be asking in response to these recent headlines, including:
1. whether coffee should be recommended to prevent disease; and
2. whether people should start drinking coffee for health reasons.

Both questions are answered as ‘no’. There is simply not enough sound evidence to make these conclusions.

Nevertheless, the advice remains the same in that a caffeine intake of up to 400mg per day (3-4 cups of coffee) is perfectly safe and that coffee is absolutely fine to include in moderation. Pregnant women should limit their intake to less than 200mg per day (2 cups of instant coffee).

For more information, go to:
NHS, pregnancy and caffeine
EFSA, Scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine

Will European Group tackling obesity have any impact?

Will European Group tackling obesity have any impact?

The European Commission Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity is a high-level group covering all matters related to nutrition and physical activity for tackling obesity in children. They’re creating frameworks to address the health problems endemic in every country in the Western world. As health professionals, we’re delighted.

Government representatives from all EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, attend the group. The UK government is represented by the Department of Health.

The driver for the obesity problem to be taken seriously at last? The ever-growing drain on economies caused by obesity-related health problems: from the cost of healthcare provision to increasing numbers of sick days taken by workers.

Meeting at least three times a year, they share experiences and strategies for tackling obesity. To date, they have published an EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity for 2014-2020, aiming to reduce exposure of foods with high saturated fat, sugars and salt (HFSS), as well as increasing exercise.

They’ve also set frameworks that can be taken up by any country on reformulation of commercial products, focusing on reductions in HFSS. Food categories currently under review are:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Sweetened dairy and dairy imitates
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread and bread products
  • Confectionary
  • Bakery products (for example cakes and cookies)
  • Ready meals (including ready to prepare products like dry soups, dried mashed potatoes, rice mixture)
  • Savoury snacks
  • Sauces (including ketchup)
  • Sugars sweetened desserts, ice cream and topping
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • School food offer
  • Catering meals

Interestingly, baby foods are not yet covered, although it would not be a surprise if this is the next step once Public Health England’s (PHE) sugar reduction strategy for this category gets under way end of this year.

The EU-specific Commercial Food Reformulation Framework for Added Sugars is set – and is really a reflection of the PHE’s sugar reduction strategy:

  • They have proposed benchmarks for each of the above food categories.
  • They have recommended that countries set an added sugars reduction benchmark of a minimum of 10% by 2020 (vs. 2015 baseline levels).
  • They have used the same definition for ‘added sugars’ as PHE, including fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate and fruit purees.

The frameworks are guidelines with minimum requirements, rather than exact rules every country is bound to. This makes sense – countries can choose to apply them as appropriate, taking into consideration different consumer attitudes to food and nutrients.

So, for example, in the UK, the first nine food categories to come under the sugar reduction targets also used 2015 data as baseline, but we went to 5% reductions by year one and 20% reductions by year 2020.

The Group next meets at the end of the month, with an evolved nutrition labelling initiative one of the points on the agenda. Major multi-national companies are on board, including The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Let’s hope that what comes out of it actually makes an impact, that it’s not just words no one follows up on. We’re certainly moving in the right direction.

Top Nutrition Headlines 13th Nov – A Nutrilicious Digest

HEADLINE: ‘Emotional toll of diabetes ‘needs more recognition’
Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41970161

Same story also reported by
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/three-in-five-diabetes-patients-struggles-with-emotional-or-mental-health-issues_uk_5a0aab98e4b00a6eece3cecc

Nutrilicious Dietetic Comments – Take Home Messages

This news article highlighted that many people with diabetes are suffering from related emotional issues. A survey from Diabetes UK (involving 8,500 people with diabetes) found that three out of five said their condition made them feel down. Only three in ten felt they had control of their condition. Dietitians, alongside other healthcare professionals have an important role to play in educating people with diabetes. When people are diagnosed with diabetes, thoughts around food choices are often present and can persist. As shown in the news article, one survey participant stated ‘I am constantly thinking about food.” Dietitians Nutritionists and all involved in food and health communications have a role in helping those with Diabetes to feel like that they can take control of their food choices and it not become a big burden on their daily life. For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, education programmes are offered which can help people manage their condition better. Whilst improvements are in need in terms of access to specialist healthcare professionals and other areas, we should be reminded of the Diabetes UK Checklist for the 15 healthcare essentials that people with diabetes should receive (see below).

Where to find useful information on the topic
Diabetes UK, https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/15-healthcare-essentials
Diabetes UK, Emotional Wellbeing https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/life-with-diabetes/emotional-issues

HEADLINE: Tofu IS linked to prostate cancer, study reveals – but experts stress men shouldn’t cut it out of their diets just yet

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5080501/Tofu-s-effect-prostate-cancer-unclear.html

Nutrilicious Dietetic Comments – Take Home Messages

The study behind this headline involved 27,004 men and they found an association between dietary intake of isoflavones and an elevated risk of advanced prostate cancer. A food frequency questionnaire was used to establish dietary intake of isoflavones from soya sources. It should be noted that this is an association found, not a cause and effect relationship and in terms of the totality of the evidence to date we cannot draw the conclusion that tofu causes prostate cancer. To the contrary the American Institute of Cancer Research in their latest review of soya and cancer mentions that in some cases, research indicates that soya isoflavones may in fact lower the risk of prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that lifelong soya consumption and exposure to isoflavones – especially before and during puberty – may protect against the development of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer UK have spoken about this new research and stated that ‘much more research is needed to measure the actual intake of isoflavones in people with varied eating habits.’ It is very difficult to draw solid conclusions from trials trying to isolate the impact of a single food type when we eat such a varied diet. The take home message is that we do not need to be cutting tofu out from our diet based on this study; much more research is needed. Tofu is a nutritious food and can indeed form part of a healthy diet; it is low in saturated fat (1g per 100g) and offers a good source of protein (12g per 100g).

Where to find useful information on the topic

Prostate UK, Diet, physical activity and your risk of prostate cancer https://prostatecanceruk.org/media/750831/diet-and-your-risk-leaflet-ifm.pdf
BDA Food Facts, soya https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/soya_and_health.pdf

HEADLINE: Drinking coffee may help prevent liver cancer, study suggests

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/may/25/drinking-coffee-may-help-prevent-liver-cancer-study-suggests

Same story also reported by
Daily Mail, ‘Drinking three cups of coffee each day could save your life: Beverage slashes the risk of fatal liver diseases by 70%, reveals review’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5089827/Three-cups-coffee-day-slashes-risk-liver-cancer.html

The Sun, Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day reduces risk of liver cancer, experts say https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4932817/drinking-three-to-five-cups-of-coffee-a-day-reduces-risk-of-liver-cancer-experts-say/

The Express, ‘Drinking coffee can cut the risk of cancer’ https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/880570/Coffee-cancer-cirrhosis-liver-disease-science-research

Nutrilicious Dietetic Comments – Take Home Messages

This headline was based on the analysis of 26 studies (involving more than 2.25 million participants), which concluded that people who drink more coffee, including decaffeinated (to a lesser extent), were less likely to get liver cancer. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, those who drank one cup a day had a 20% lower risk of developing the most common form of liver cancer. Those who consumed two cups a day had a 35% reduced risk and for those who drank five cups, the risk was halved. However, the researchers judged the quality of the evidence they found using the GRADE criteria and deemed it be ‘very low’. One reason for this is the lack of randomised controlled trials (considered to be the gold standard within research). In this study, it is hard to be certain whether it was the coffee causing the outcome or other non-controlled for factors. E.g. do the coffee drinkers tend to have a healthier lifestyle in other ways which may confound the results? Nevertheless, this is an interesting study and moderate consumption of coffee is not a problem and can help towards our daily hydration needs. The EFSA advise that intakes up to 400mg of caffeine are safe for healthy adults in the general population. The exception lies with pregnant women who are advised to limit this to 200mg per day, the equivalent of two mugs of instant coffee.

NHS, pregnancy and caffeine https://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/limit-caffeine-during-pregnancy.aspx?categoryid=54&subcategoryid=130
EFSA, Scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4102/epdf

New rules on food advertising to help tackle childhood obesity

New rules on food advertising to help tackle childhood obesity

Following a public consultation, strengthened rules controlling the advertisement of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products to children came into force this summer. They’d been expected for a while and for many couldn’t come soon enough.

We think these rules can lead to a major reduction in the number of adverts for HFSS food and drinks seen by children. This will help in the fight against childhood obesity.

The new rules and their anticipated impact

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) rules complement the existing Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) rules. So what are the key points to note and what impact should they have on advertising HFSS products? Here’s a short rundown:

1. Age of a ‘child’ increased
A ‘child’ is now classified as anyone under 16, rather than under 12 as it was previously. Many of the rules apply to this wider age group.

Impact:
A far greater number of young people will be protected from seeing the ads.

2. New restrictions based on audience
Adverts that promote an HFSS product, whether directly or indirectly (such as brand advertising using company logos or characters), cannot appear in children’s media or when children make up over 25 per cent of the audience.

Impact:
The window of opportunity for advertising is more limited. It’s lovely to think that popular TV shows such as the X-Factor, which have a significant under-16 audience, will no longer be able to show adverts promoting products that are HFSS.

3. Celebrity endorsement prohibited for under-12 audience
Adverts for HFSS products that are likely to be seen as directly targeting under-12s cannot include promotions, licensed characters and celebrities popular with children.

Impact:
Companies will no longer be able to use popular influencers such as footballers, Disney characters, etc. to help sell their products to children.

4. Reach extended, covering broadcast, print and online platforms
The rules now apply not just to broadcast media but also non-broadcast, such as print, cinema, digital and social media platforms.

Impact:
Children are now protected across all platforms. The industry now has to factor in social media when it’s planning who and where to target its products.

5. Burden of proof shifted to advertisers
In order to determine whether a product is considered HFSS, advertisers must enter its nutritional content data into the Department of Health’s Nutrient Profiling Model. This model has been used to control TV advertising of food and drink products since January 2007.

Previously, all advertisers were required to submit a completed HFSS certificate to Clearcast before an advert could be aired on or around children’s programming. With the new rules, certificates do not need to be completed before an advert runs on non-broadcast media. However, as part of due diligence, businesses have an obligation to ensure they comply with the CAP code and hold the necessary documentation in-house.

If a complaint is made about an advert to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), measures will be taken to review it (which may involve a formal investigation) and non-compliant adverts will need amending or removing.

Impact: There’s a possible danger that as adverts are no longer pre-approved, more of them with inappropriate content will slip through the net – especially as the ASA admits it’s going to have a tough time enforcing the wider scope of application of its rules. However, the ASA will investigate any complaints seriously – even if it’s only one complaint against an advert. The complaint can come from anyone – likely to be competitors, pressure groups and parents. With the burden of responsibility for an appropriate ad more heavily weighing on the advertisers, we hope they will be careful to conduct their due diligence responsibly, to avoid costly amends or even the creation of a new campaign if they are forced to pull one.

Our overall assessment

The new CAP rules are very welcome. The wider remit, covering all platforms, presents both opportunities and challenges: the ASA will have its work cut out enforcing it. The more awareness there is amongst those interested in preventing HFSS products being advertised to children, the more likely it is that advertisers will be challenged if they flout the rules.

Change on the horizon for nutrient profiling

A decade has passed since the inception of the Department of Health’s HFSS nutrient profile. Nutrition science and dietary recommendations have moved on during that time – particularly in the area of sugar. The Government has announced its commitment to updating the nutrient profile as part of their Childhood Obesity Plan. So we expect that change is coming, which will mean companies will have to reevaluate their products and associated adverts.

Currently, products are scored on a points basis. You score negative points for elements that are damaging to health (sugar, saturated fat, salt, etc) and positive for those that are healthy (fibre, vitamins, etc). The benchmarks are going to change, in relation to total sugars and fibre levels. The amount of total sugars allowed will very likely be reduced (scoring proportionately more negative points) and you’ll probably have to have more fibre to score the positive points. Essentially, it will make it easier for products to be classified as HFSS.

Need help understanding or applying the rules?

The rules are complex, especially alongside European regulations that UK companies need to be aware of too. If you’re a food business affected by these new CAP rules, we can help support you in meeting your obligations. We’re also able to advise you on reformulation opportunities to improve nutrient profiling scores coming out of the HFSS categorisation, and to make sure your products are following the most up-to-date guidelines. We’d love to discuss your needs: email us today – email tanya@nutrilicious.co.uk

For more information visit the CAP website or download the Advertising Guidance: Identifying brand advertising that has effect of promoting HFSS product

WHERE WE LIVE

Nutrilicious • The Brentano Suite • First Floor • Lyttelton House • 2 Lyttelton Road • London • N2 0EF
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8455 2126
Email: info@nutrilicious.co.uk

Nutrilicious Ltd

CONTACT US

3 + 6 =

© Nutrilicious. 2018 All rights reserved
Website created by madeyoulook.co.uk