Weight Loss NHS

Hidden Sugar

The Eatwell Plate advises a third of what we eat should be fruit and vegetables. The major macronutrient of these foods is carbohydrate (fructose and glucose). Another third of our recommended intake is starchy carbohydrate. As the group name implies, the major macronutrient for this food group is also carbohydrate (starch = glucose).


So, whilst we are advised to cut down on sugar in the purple group, we are advised that over two thirds of what we eat should be carbohydrate?

14 Replies

Hi Concerned,

I really don't agree with your assessment.

The major constituent of most fresh (and often cooked) fruit and veg is water. And that is important too, as it's one of the ways we achieve appropriate hydration.

Hydration isn't just about what you drink, it includes what you eat.


Water isn't a macronutrient though, so the OP was spot in in identifying that the Carbwell plate is a plate of carbohydrates with a bit of protein.


Hi hardwick,

The point I was making, which I believe Concerned concurred with, is that if the eatwell plate says a third of your plate should be fruit and veg and that amount of fruit and veg is mainly water, then it isn't the case that it's mainly carbohydrate, or protein, or fat or anything else.

So, if you like, that "waters down" the amount of carbohydrate they are suggesting you should eat when they make that statement about fruit and veg.

And less face it, most actual foods that we eat are a combination of nutrients, I mean even chocolate contains some vitamins.


I turned to food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs... for some numbers. It too features the kid's plate.

It seems to advise Fat up to 35% of energy, "Non milk extrinsic sugars" not more than 11%, 55g of protein (220 cals, ~11%), 39% of intrinsic milk sugars and starch making up about 50% total carbohydrates..

So regardless of water content the dietary advice appears to be low protein, moderate fat, high carbohydrate ?


Actually, I agree with you there.

What about starch being hidden sugar?


Hi Concerned,

What about it?

Starch, sugars, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, fibre, antioxidants, etc., etc., are all part of the mix of our food intake.

I don't think it's particularly helpful to either 'deify' or 'demonise' any food type, they all have their role to play in the overall nutrition of our bodies, which in turn helps the body to function optimally.

I personally see a value in knowing what I'm eating - but to what degree is it helpful to get into just how much detail about it all? I mean I do have a life to get on with!

(And my body would probably prefer me to eat the food, than write some sort of thesis about it).

For some, perhaps, it's helpful or interesting, for others it's just too much information - they don't feel they need to know every detail of every morsel they eat.

And both stances are just fine.

People can be in either camp on that one and still have successful and fruitful weight loss journeys.


So why is the GDA for sugar 90g?


Hi Concerned,

I'm not clear what point you're making there. You clearly have some view that the GDA should be higher or lower.

But the factual answer is that "Expert Working Groups, created by the panel on Dietary Reference Values (DRVs), set up in 1987 by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) set DRVs for energy, protein, fats, sugars, starches, non-polysaccharides (NPS), 13 vitamins, 15 minerals and considered 18 other minerals.

This Government report still stands today as the basis for dietary recommendations in the UK and is underpinned by objective, science-based evidence which has not been superseded"

And that's why the GDA for sugar is 90g - a group of academic and industry experts decided it to be that figure.

My only comment is that "In addition to providing energy, carbohydrates play an important role in the construction of body organs and nerve cells and in defining a person's blood group"

(from gdalabel.org.uk)

Oh and sugars do other things than just provide energy too.

Perhaps you should be contacting them about the sugar GDA?


Mmmm no changes since 1987 makes you wonder :-) nice to see that if you'd like more in depth detail, as some of us do, that these discussions take place too.


the SACN committee on Carbohydrates is working on this now, recommendations next year I think.


HI Aussieblues,

To be honest, I barely ever give consideration to GDAs actually and they sure as hell haven't been any focal point for my weight loss journey.

But each to their own.


Yep you've hit the nail on its head there, it is each to their own :-) its amazing how different we all are and how with eating etc its no ' one shoe fits all' . You find so much conflicting ideas but its brilliant and makes you realise it may take you a while to find a food plan that works for you but ultimately there is one. Also as you've previously pointed out, and I totally agree with is its also v much about changing habits too. It's fantastic that your weight loss journey is going so well and ( even with occasionally negative comments from you lol) you inspire me to keep trying and not give up. So thank you ' mr slinky' its been great that you pointed out that if you control portion size you don't have to become a calorie counting slave, but if tracking every cal keeps you focused that's ok too. I actually found tracking made me more obsessive and just getting to know portion sizes is working better for me now. I look forward to getting slinkier too :-) thank you.


Hi Aussieblues,

Well, whatever the theory of the process is, the reality is that the weight reduction plan a person sticks to is likely to be a lot more effective than the one the person abandons.

And we always have to remember that it's real people who are riding the weight loss bus - not academic case studies, or statistics.

And real people have to 'fit' the weight/fat reduction plan in with all the other strands of their lives, e.g. their personality type, their psychological and emotional health, partners/spouses, children, professional lives, economic realities, time commitments, faith-related food restrictions, physical health issues, learnt eating habits, family traditions, social situation, etc., etc.

And eating is very ingrained in us, as an early learning experience, as we start feeding at a very early stage in our lives.

As for calorie counting - I just don't have the &@$£%ing patience! And to those who do, well done and good on you.

Good luck with your slinkiness ambitions.

Reply to this


personally i have more or less cut out all sugar carbohydrates salt and dairy from my diet

i get a few of these in my shakes i take two herbalife shakes per day with water, i take fibre tablets and multivits too

diary i have skimmed milk 2-3 times a day in a cup of tea

sugar i only get from fruit and the odd treat chocolate which this week is on the list as its TOTM

salt again only what is naturally found in foods i never was one for adding salt and as we make all our meals fresh theres no processed salts

i dont eat potatoes in any form, pasta ive had it once in about 6 weeks, pizza had a gluten free pizza last sunday first in about 8 weeks and it near killed me with indegestion and bloatedness,

ive had two slice of toast in the last2-3 weeks

i had a low fat natural yoghurt in work on wed i think and was in the toilet almost immediately afterwards (it wasnt pretty)

our wee veg patch in the garden that was destroyed in the sotrms has actually produced some stuff altough we just dumped all the trays in the planter as they were wrecked so we dont actually know what they are so each day is a surprise lol

ive never felt so healthy and have now lost 19lbs in 14 weeks

i dont pay particular attention to the eatwell plate thingy which i dont think helps weight loss but once desired weight is achieved along with fitness i think its a good balanced plate but i tend to fill my plate two thirds salad/veg and the rest will be my protein any meat i eat is cooked with olive oil and chilli/garlic/spices very rarely do i make any form of sauce


You may also like...