Eatwell Guide: Recommendations for a balanced diet and a healthy brain

Publication date

17 March 2016


Public Health England

The publication

The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions in which different types of foods are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet, and applies to most people (above the age of t years old) regardless of weight, dietary restrictions/ preferences or ethnic origin.

Our response

We’re pleased that our recommendations were incorporated into the latest guidelines.

The Eatwell guide is now more nutritionally balanced and promotes a diet that is good for a healthy brain. The guide notes that “most people do not consume enough fish” and to “aim for at least two portions (2 x 140g) of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish”.

We recommend increasing fish consumption to two portions of oily fish a week to ensure that we get enough long chain essential fats within our diet along with various other vitamins and minerals. These are crucial for brain development, growth and maintenance and so vitally important in our diets during all stages of life. Omega-3s have also been shown to have an important role in the treatment and prevention of various mental disorders such as ADHD, depression and psychosis. 

Additionally, we are pleased that oils and spreads were put into their own category, and no longer within the group that mainly represented ‘junk foods’. Dietary fat is crucially important as the brain is made up of 60% fat. Having a specific category for oils and spreads is very positive as they do have an important place within the diet.

We further recommended that consuming oily fish should be explicitly encouraged within the Eatwell Guide, and that oils should be removed from the category that mainly represented energy dense, low nutrient foods.