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Traditional healthy eating advice is mostly wrong says Tim Spector

1st Nov 2023 - 07:00
Professor Tim Spector
The man behind the ZOE personalised nutrition programme, Professor Tim Spector believes that much of the healthy guidance handed down over the years is almost completely wrong.

He told an audience at the Public Sector Catering Expo that when he started to investigate the scientific basis behind Government dietary advice, he found that it just wasn’t there. 

“Diet advice used to be count calories, choose low-sugar alternatives, eat low-fat foods, don’t skip meals, eat little and often. I looked into it and there’s no evidence for any of it ... it’s BS” he said. 

“I followed this sort of advice and then used a blood sugar monitor and found I got sugar spikes after eating meals. These stress your body, you produce more insulin, three hours later you get an energy dip and your mood changes.” 

The professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings College London said he also suffered a lack of concentration and put on weight. 

This was the background to his recent work on diet and health which has highlighted the crucial role of our gut microbiome and how the traditional diet worked against it. 

That work has now become the ZOE personalised nutrition programme that allows users to monitor their individual reaction to foods and develop a diet that works specifically for them. 

And Tim’s advice to replace the low-fat, low-calorie approach is to eat 30 different types of vegetable or fruit a week because, he believes, diversity and fibre are the most important elements of our diet. 

The PSC Expo continues today, when Gregg Wallace will be the keynote speaker, the BBC MasterChef presenter talking about food, nutrition and health. 

There will also be a State of the Nation panel heads featuring all the national catering organisation in the UK, together with cooking demos, an exhibition of products for the foodservice sector, as well as the culmination of this year’s military cooking competition Exercise Joint Caterer. 

Written by
David Foad