Leading doctors have suggested employing the Mediterranean diet as a means of fighting the national obesity problem.
A group of doctors has recommended adopting the diet in favour of calorie counting as a long-term means of reducing rates of obesity and promoting healthy eating.
In an article in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, a group of leading doctors including Professor Terence Stephenson, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Dr Mahiben Maruthappu, a senior figure at NHS England, wrote that adopting a long-term approach to healthy eating is preferable to crash dieting. The official guidelines from the NHS currently state that it is important to watch calorie intake in order to maintain a healthy weight.
The doctors have also criticised food manufacturers for focusing on calorie intake, rather than promoting a healthy attitude to diet and nutrition.
The group suggests following the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruit and vegetables, olive oil, fresh fish, lean meat, poultry and nuts, and tends to avoid butter, red meat and processed foods.
The article authors recommend hospitals as a starting point and claim that the NHS is in an ideal position to lead the way in setting a good example. Prof Stephenson said that it is logical for the NHS to introduce healthy eating measures at hospitals in a bid to encourage people to eat well and lose weight.
Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, welcomed the piece and supports the notion of encouraging good long-term eating habits.