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The UK Government are preparing a health campaign to cut the calorie content of Britain’s favourite foods as health officials are telling the public that it is “time to go on a diet”.

Public Health England are looking at unhealthy foods such as processed meat and takeaways with a new health campaign to try and reduce obesity levels within the UK. The government is urging the food industry to begin using healthier alternatives to ingredients and to encourage the population to choose lower-calorie foods in its advertising.

By 2024, the Government’s new health campaign plans to cut calorie consumption by 20% and will apply the campaign to 13 food groups that are currently responsible for one-fifth of the calorie intake in children and adults.

The cost of obesity is around £6 billion to the NHS and it increases every year and with over 15% of calories being consumed by 13 specific food groups. These will be targeted first as the government aim for a 20% calorie reduction in these foods by 2024. The government aim to prevent the 35000 unnecessary early deaths from obesity over the next 25 years by reducing calories in popular foods.

This calorie plan comes into partnership with the sugar reduction program, which consequently launched last year and targeted the sugar content of nine different food groups. This also runs in time with the sugary drinks program due to come into action next month.

Combined, these three measures mean that health officials are taking direct action to influence the consumption of foods responsible for half of children’s calorie intake.

“Britain needs to go on a diet. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories and it is why so many are overweight or obese” Says PHE Chief executive Duncan Selbie.

Food manufacturers, supermarkets, takeaways and fast food outlets have been told to reduce the calories in the following foods:

– Savoury biscuits and crackers

– Specialist breads such as ciabatta

– Cooking sauces and dressings

– Crisps & potato products

– Egg products

– Pies, pastries and sausages

– Pasta, rice and noodles

– Ready meals and takeaways

– Dips

– Pizzas

– Food to go, such as sandwiches

– Soups

PHE claims that if action is not taken, it would be prepared to ask the government to legislate.

The agency is launching a health campaign encouraging adults to consume 400 calories for breakfast and 600 calories for both lunch and dinner. This is considered a rough guide for consumers to follow when buying meals away from home.

A quarter of foods is now bought from cafes, restaurants and food to go shops and major groups such as Mcdonalds, Subway and Greggs would have to promote healthier foods that keep people within the new health campaign guidelines.

The recommended daily intake for women is no more than 2000 calories in a day, while men should limit their intake to 2500 calories. Children depend on age, but the recommended for a four year old should be around 1300 and for males, in the teen years it is around 3000, however, some children are consuming around 500 more than this per day.

This, in turn, will boost the healthy alternative market, which could see a rise in meal replacements for adults and supplements to help boost metabolism and support weight loss. The idea that consumers will, in turn, eat less sugar, could kick start a health revolution with motivation at its peak.