The Lowdown: Day 1 at Food Matters Live 2016 in London

Food Matters Live 2016 Event London

Food Matters Live 2016 – The Lowdown

Food Matters Live bring experts, researchers, companies and technology together. Its aim is simple: giving you the most up to date regarding nutrition, foods and health.
Did you know: one in five kids in the UK are overweight or obese by the time they start school? Did you know by the time they reach year 6 the number increases to
one in three? That’s a third! Crazy, right? And the stats are similar across the Western world. These were some of the topics discussed today at Food Matters Live 2016.

Event’s Focus

Tackling the obesity epidemic; The rise and rise of FreeFrom foods; The sugar tax; The role of advertising and marketing on food choices, especially relating to our kids. Food matters live addresses these topics and that was just the beginning. The post-truth age; Health, nutrition and associated decisions/food choices. The role of bloggers and celebrities and their influence.

You may say we’ve come a long a way from the “cholesterol mafia“, as quoted by professor Tim Spector (Director of the British Gut Microbiome Project), or the gluten free = weight loss bandwagon, however, there are still serious, pressing issues we need to attack. At this rate it won’t be long before half of our kids are overweight or obese, which will make overweight and obesity look “normal” to our kids. Worrying.
The main room panel discussions were led by TV and radio presenter Anita Anand and the panels included guest speakers from various backgrounds like Shadow Health Minister Sharon Hodgson MP, Craig Sargeant, General Manager at Mars Food UK or Ian Barber, Director of Communications, Advertising Association.

The Information Available Out There

First of all, the information that is now available is overwhelming for most people. Consumers are time poor and due to the lack or overload of information they find it hard to make sense of it all. From what’s on the packaging to what the retail industry is trying to sell us to the innumerable diets and misleading information that are online. The traffic light system, once understood, is a helpful tool, yet many consumers are either unaware of or don’t understand the information provided. Helpful as it may be, there seems to be a considerable amount of research for consumers to do. However, from a recent study, as pointed out by guests speakers including Jenny Hearne from watchmethink, it seems that health claims by celebrities and unqualified bloggers is damaging the industry and are on the edge of unpopularity. They are a bit like sugar and are becoming the bad guys!

Second of all, the basics are still being worked on. From a government perspective, although school meals have been improved, with a particular focus on the food being prepped on premises with fresher ingredients, there is still a lot to do. Promotions and ads on unhealthy products are still out there and should worry us more than they do, particularly when they target our kids.


Last but certainly not least, research into the importance of a health microbiome is exploding. Your microbiome is what really matters. The 3 rules to gut health given to us by prof Tim Spector were:
-Feed them, with fibre;
-Eat mainly a plant based diet. We’re not talking vegan here, just eat more plants; and
-Incorporate fermented foods;
Nothing too tricky there, refine what you’re doing and adjust a little bit to increase the above points.

The key to success isn’t necessarily sticking to a “diet” but believing that a bit of everything is what your body needs. We have been abusing anything and everything, which is why now we find ourselves avoiding more and more, like gluten, dairy and sugars!

With two full days still to go, we’re excited to see what else Food Matters Live 2016 has in store for us. Stay tuned for more updates!

Daen and Thomas

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0 replies
  1. Ellie www.newcreationsministries.wordpress.com/
    Ellie www.newcreationsministries.wordpress.com/ says:

    If only 20% our young citizens were overweight! But unfortunately it’s higher than that in the USA due to America’s cravings for soda, chemicals, fast food and junk items. As a fellow nutritionist, sometimes I feel like John the Baptist crying out in the Wilderness against our own blindness!

    By adulthood, more than 66% are overweight. I am so tired of hearing “Oh if I only could be as slim as you!” It takes discipline, knowledge of physiology and common sense to be successful. Being thin doesn’t necessarily equal healthiness. Being the best one can be in the frame God gave us however, does! Thanks for this great article.


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