How to avoid diet related ill-health

Yo yo dieting and depriving yourself isn’t the key to a healthier diet – adding
nutrients is.

That is the message from N8 AgriFood nutrition expert Bernadette Moore, speaking in light of new research published this week, which revealed poor diet contributes to more adult deaths than tobacco, and high blood pressure.

The findings, published in the Lancet medical journal, were part of the Global Burden of Disease study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, which concluded that poor diets were responsible for 10.9 million deaths, or 22 per cent of all deaths among adults in 2017.

The researchers involved stressed the problems with diet don’t necessarily boil down to the bad things people eat, but more the good things we don’t eat.

Their message has been backed Bernadette Moore, Associate Professor of Obesity at the University of Leeds, and one of N8 AgriFood’s Theme 3 Leads.

She said: “The report is no surprise. We know that we are consuming way too much salt and refined carbohydrates, and we aren’t getting the recommended 30g of fibre a day.

“We don’t want to put ourselves in the position of preaching to people about what they can’t eat. The number one thing we should be doing is not focusing on dieting or cutting out, we should be adding to our diets to fit in what’s healthy for us.”


“The key is to start in the morning,” says Bernadette, “it is easy then to add whole grains and fruit to what you eat.”

Bernadette suggested using frozen fruit, to keep costs down, and adding to whole grain cereal.

“But,” she said; “make sure you check your cereals for whole grain content. It needs to be higher than 50% ideally.”

Bernadette’s latest research has revealed that in a study of 760 cereals available in British supermarkets – of the 100 children’s cereals examined, fewer than 10% had the proper
recommended level of whole grains.


“Another big message from research in the UK is that, we are consuming on average two takeaways a week,” emphasized Bernadette.

“Often the same people who fear it is expensive to eat healthily don’t appreciate the cost of their takeaways. We’re not here to say don’t eat takeaways, but there are things you can to make them better for you.”

Bernadette says the key thing to think about with takeaways is “portion control”. She suggests getting a couple of curry’s to share with the family, with extra side dishes of vegetables rather than one each for everybody, and opt for the wholegrain option when choosing rice or naans, again sharing rather than getting both rice and naans for everyone.


Bernadette says tea time favourites can still be made, but small alterations can help make a big difference to daily vegetable intake.

“If you love a fish pie, then instead of eating a shop bought option usually laden with salt, make your own. If you use tinned salmon it keep costs low and you will get your Omega three’s (the healthy fats), and then cut the mash potato with carrot or swede to get another vegetable in there.

“If you like meat pie, simply use less meat and add a packet of frozen vegetable. It’s better to make your own gravy to avoid the salty packet gravies.

“If you’re making a bolognaise, or any tomato based sauce, blend in a head of broccoli, no one will even know it’s there which is great for fussy kids. Diced carrots are also great for adding to a bolognaise.

“The key really is to add an extra portion of fruit or vegetables, or whole grain, or nuts in to what you’re already making to eat.”