Adapted Eatwell Guides for people from diff... - Healthy Eating

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Adapted Eatwell Guides for people from different backgrounds

pearl777 profile image

Hi all, I am from a Caribbean background and a lot of people in my family eat quite a traditional Caribbean diet. I wondered where I could get hold of an adapted Eatwell guide for people from different backgrounds? Also, adaptations of the guide for people from a West African background as well, from discussions I have been involved in, this has also come up. Thanks.

15 Replies

I would advise you not to bother with the EatWell Guide in any form. I adhered to it strictly, monitoring my fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt intake, and exercising daily. This is what I looked like.

Hi, Subtle_badger thanks for your message. Obviously, the Eatwell guide is not as good as it would seem. I just feel I need a good starting point.

The EatWell guide is nonsense. Ignore it. As per Subtle_Badger's experience, millions of people have followed it faithfully and ended up fatter and sicker than ever. Basic physiology suggests that that's exactly what you'd expect.

Depending on precisely where your family are from in the Carribean (I get the impression there's a surprising amount of variation) the diet that you are used to is almost certainly superior to the EatWell guide. If you're finding that the weight is creeping on, or you have other health issues, make sure you're not incorporating bad British habits (eg., junk food and sweet snacks) and dial back on rice/starch; add more vegetables and meat instead. I believe eggs and dairy don't really feature heavily in Carribean food, but you might consider adding more of them (unless you're intolerant to one or both, obviously).

Thanks TheAwfulToad Thankfully I like vegetables so that helps :) I am intolerant to egg, but I think I would benefit from adding more dairy into my diet.

Cooper27 profile image

Unfortunately I doubt you'll find anything. Official/Eatwell guidance is very much designed as one-size-fits-all, whether you're male, female, Carribbean, Swedish, older or younger. I also think it encourages a lot of processed foods.

You might find more by googling dietary guidance of some Carribbean nations, for example this guidance for Jamaicans came up when I had a quick search:

I'd always suggest trying to reduce the grain portion of the plate in favour of more vegetables though, and that you should use good oils (olive, coconut, avocado instead of vegetable/sunflower)

pearl777 profile image
pearl777 in reply to Cooper27

Thank you Cooper27. I will check out the link 🙂

Callendersgal profile image
CallendersgalPWB Guest

Hi pearl777, I think you may struggle to find an eatwell guide which is aimed specifically at the Caribbean diet. When my husband was first diagnosed with type2 diabetes several years ago, we were invited along to what was, in essence a practical course in eating well with diabetes, hosted by several NHS dieticians. We had extreme difficulty in ascertaining where traditional Caribbean foods sat with regard to the 'healthy plate' in terms of both category and portion size. I directly asked about foods like cassava, cornmeal, saltfish and so on, to be met with an astonished look and a shrug, despite the fact that several of the newly diagnosed, as well as my husband, were Afro-Caribbean.I'd suggest tackling this by just taking a good guess, because there is actually very little to be found through the NHS or online.

It's proved successful for my husband whose blood sugar levels, (helped with medication of course), are well within 'normal' range all of the time. If it's a stodgier type of food, I lump it together with the starches, if it's a green vegetable, such as, for example okra, I lump it with vegetables and so on.

It's far from ideal but it's quite likely the best you are going to get, without looking up every single item in your diet for calories and so on. The only other thing which has helped a bit is the glycemic index, readily available online.

But really the answer lies in more education for dieticians about ethnic differences in diet. After all this is now a global world and all ethnicities need advice on their specific diets from time to time.

It's really shocking how dismissive the NHS seems to be about some races, especially seeing they are highly represented in their staff. I was shocked to read that 111 was asking black people if their lips were blue, and distributing oximeter which are unreliable with darker skin.

But back to the diet, why "of course" to medications. I think that only applies if you are following the standard advice. David Unwin is having a great deal of success getting many of his diabetics off meds by switching them to a low carb diet. Not all his patients do without meds, but there is no "of course" about that.

Note: do not switch to a low carb diet without talking to your clinical team. It's so effective that your drugs need to be adjusted to avoid consequences like hypoglycaemia.

It really is!

Thanks @Callerndersgal.It does feel very much like a 'one size fits all'. Such a shame. More education certainly needs to be done! I will look up more on the glycemic index. I am familiar with it but I need a refresher.

Good question. I am also from a Caribbean background too. On twitter, there is a post about an adapted Eatwell guide resource that a nutritionist has developed. It has been adapted for the following backgrounds: West & East Africa, Poland, Caribbean & Bangladesh. This is the tweet:

I've attached the adapted Eatwell guide for the Caribbean background. I would say definitely a good starting point (see attached). I would agree with what has been said about being careful of portion sizes.

Colour photo of the Eatwell guide adapted for Caribbean backgrounds.
pearl777 profile image
pearl777 in reply to SunsetM

Thanks @SunsetM This is helpful. Thank you everyone!

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to SunsetM

Hey SunsetM this is very helpful so thank you it’s appreciated. 🌈👍

Callendersgal profile image
CallendersgalPWB Guest in reply to SunsetM

Brilliant SunsetM!

There has been a lot of criticism of the Eatwell Guide from leading nutritionists. Dr Zöe Harcombe amongst others.

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