Now this is amusing

Daily calorie consumption should be reduced to 1,800 calories a day, according to new health guidelines.

The current recommendation is for women to consume 2,000 calories a day and men 2,500 as part of a balanced diet.

But a new Public Health England (PHE) campaign next year is expected to recommend a ‘400-600-600’ rule. That means restricting food intake to 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner.

An additional two healthy snacks of up to 100 calories each are permitted, bringing the total to 1,800 calories overall.

According to the government, adults currently consume an average of 200 to 300 more calories per day than they should.

That good man, Chris Snowdon, has something to say about this. But then so do I.

Let us assume, not necessarily a valid assumption but let us assume, that they’re right here.

This then tells us that Public Health England is entirely wrong about everything else they say about food. It’s not sugar, it’s not processed food, it’s not unhealthy food it’s simply the amount. We’re all fat because we consume more calories than we expend.

For, note something about historical diets. Back in WWII it was noted, during rationing, that those who got fewer than 2,900 calories a day lost weight. WWI frontline rations were 4,400 a day.

If PHE now says that it’s calorie intake which is the problem then it’s calorie intake which is the problem, isn’t it? Or, the balancing item, calorie usage.

Even, as I’ve been saying for some time now, it’s central heating to blame for us all being fatty lardbuckets.

This very insistence on calories is the very thing showing that all the other malarkey is wrong.

58 comments on “Now this is amusing

  1. “An additional two healthy snacks of up to 100 calories each are permitted…”

    I’ll pay attention to this when it’s clear that every NHS worker is doing the same…

  2. How much walking did people do back in WW2? Fewer people had cars and tended to walk more.

    These days it is quite normal for people to work in a place where people do not want to live, encouraging people to drive in from places where they do want to live.

  3. This is similar to what the Auschwitz prisoners received.

    Given that the UK transportation network is not currently under a widespread bombing attack, perhaps this is an unreasonably frugal diet?

    Of course, causing cholera outbreaks through starvation would keep the NHS in business and then some..

  4. But it wouldn’t be a lot of fun for assorted busybodies if everyone just agreed that it is calories in calories out, so it will never happen.

  5. How much walking did people do back in WW2? Fewer people had cars and tended to walk more.

    Something of an understatement, from 1st July 1942 all private petrol rations were withdrawn completely and was only restored at the original rationed rate on 1st June 1945 and petrol rationing remained in force until 1950. Even then it was only withdrawn after Labour setbacks in the 1950 General Election demonstrated that the general public would no longer accept rationing.

  6. “… from 1st July 1942 all private petrol rations were withdrawn completely…”

    Private Walker always seemed to find a few spare jerry cans…

  7. 200 to 300 more calories per day? I think they are going about this the wrong way. We aren’t going to reduce the amount we eat. We like eating too much. Perhaps we can fiddle with the Aitkin’s diet which may reduce food consumption. Perhaps not.

    The solution is obvious – we all need an implant that will turn the sugars in our blood into electricity. So we can plug our mobile phones into our own bodies and recharge them.

    Let’s do a quick back of the envelop calculation to see if it is possible. A calorie is a bit over 4.2 kilojoules. So we are eating on the order of 1200 too many kilojoules. A joule is 2.78×10−7 kW⋅h.

    There must be a mistake there somewhere. We eat an excess of about 1.5 kW.h per day? Not a chance. Otherwise I am going to have to apologise for calling The Matrix the stupidest SF premise of all time. Why not use sheep?

  8. Not the PHE aren’t a bunch of prodnosed nanny staters (they obviously are), but I’ve cut my calorie intake down to about 900 calories per day, making absolutely no changes to my deskbound lifestyle whatsoever and I’ve been losing about 2lbs per week since the end of November.

    The first 10 days were hardest because my stomach literally demanded its usual fill, but since the first week in December it has been fairly easy.

    Christmas Day was interesting, I had one medium sized plate of turkey and trimmings and I felt absolutely stuffed. Literally couldn’t eat anything else.

    The body does adjust to the change quite well considering, still a long way to go until I reach my target weight of 68KG though 🙁

  9. I’m sure that the work done by Joseph Rowntree on poverty was based on a daily requirement of 3,500 calories for a working man. If you couldn’t afford the basic food that provided that you were living in poverty….

  10. A litre of petrol (essentially hydrocarbons) can produce 10 kWh of energy, so 1.5 kWh is roughly 150 g (or 5 oz in old money of ‘food’). A sausage has ‘more’ energy than an equal mass of high explosive, because it doesn’t need to contain its own oxidiser. A kg of TNT produces 4 MJ (see definition of ‘kiloton’) or 1 kWh.

  11. The solution is obvious and I’m surprised they have not suggested it.

    All food distribution should be handled by the government.

    That would ensure widespread starvation, and hopefully would shut the fuckers up.

  12. Said this before, but WTF are these dietary recommendations supposed to be for. Bunch of desk jockeys? It may come as surprise to the desk jockies at PHE that there’s people do other than sit on their fat arses all day. Haven’t a clue where you’d find the figures, but it may even be the majority. It’s certainly the majority of the people I know, back in the UK. The entire country can’t be administrators, can it?

    And you’re wrong about the central heating, Tim. Should have worked that out for yourself. You got central heating in your house? I haven’t in mine. Why would I for the 2 – 3 months of the year we might need it, evenings? So why isn’t everyone down on the Peninsular like barrage balloons?

    But it is an enabler. The culprit’s the ubiquitous sofa & the idiot box. How many people spend a considerable portion of their lives sprawled in front of the TV? Getting up occasionally to raid the fridge? It’s what I notice when I’m in people’s homes – particularly UK side. The TV’s always on & they slump. Like fucking vegetables.

    4000 calories is what I need to avoid dropping below 10st & starting to look like a famine victim. My problem’s trying to find the time to eat them. And remembering to. Too busy. Always have been.

  13. I realise it is a fact of life that you have to have politicians. Every society since Ug the Caveman has had politicians. Some of these politicians have lingered on with the Ug mentality. C’est la vie.

    But what I can’t stand is these power-crazed, interfering, facist ignoramuses. They should be hung, drawn and quartered and then really hurt till they die.

  14. Let us assume, not necessarily a valid assumption but let us assume, that they’re right here.

    But we know the Atkins diet – minimise carbohydrates, eat as much protein and fat as you like – works. So we know not all calories are equal. So we know that PHE is at best only partly right about calorie intake.

  15. I think it is time for the Texas solution – we should declare all the big problems solved and move Parliament to part-time work.

    The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year.[1] The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days. ….
    Only the governor may call the Legislature into special sessions, unlike other states where the legislature may call itself into session. … The Texas Constitution limits the duration of each special session to 30 days; lawmakers may consider only those issues designated by the governor in his “call,” or proclamation convening the special session (though other issues may be added by the Governor during a session).

    We can call it re-calibrating their work-life balance or something. Civil servants too.

  16. And something about those WW2 days. People didn’t have sofas. They hadn’t been invented. If they were lucky, they had arm chairs & a settee. In the front room. The room only got used on Sundays & to receive visitors. Most of the time they sat on straight back chairs at a table. People lived in the kitchen.
    Keeping yourself sitting upright, not sprawled, uses a considerable amount of energy.

  17. Chris Miller – “A litre of petrol (essentially hydrocarbons) can produce 10 kWh of energy, so 1.5 kWh is roughly 150 g (or 5 oz in old money of ‘food’).”

    So we are producing about 550 kW.h per year? There are about 60 million of us.

    So that is 33 billion kW.hrs? The UK generates about 350 TW.hrs. So we have a way to go to make a big impact in the UK’s electricity demand. But perhaps if the government asked nicely we could all up our intake of chips and coke?

    I wonder if growing crops, eating them and then using something to turn the blood sugar into power would be the most efficient way to use solar energy? Certainly more enjoyable than most.

  18. “I wonder if growing crops, eating them and then using something to turn the blood sugar into power would be the most efficient way to use solar energy? Certainly more enjoyable than most.”

    The end result of that sort of thinking is everyone pedalling on a stationary bike to keep the lights on.

    No.

  19. Tim Worstall – “The end result of that sort of thinking is everyone pedalling on a stationary bike to keep the lights on.”

    Except we would be lucky to keep the lights on if we were pedaling. A fuel cell should be more efficient at converting the ATP or whatever into electricity than the human muscle is at turning it into a spinning wheel. We are probably on the order of 20% efficient. A fuel cell ought to be something like twice or three times more efficient.

    So we might be able to run a toaster. But the important point is that we should be able to do so at rest. While using energy that so far is going to waste. Well, to fat. People would actually pay for a device that burnt off fat for us while we were watching the TV.

    So don’t harsh my Dystopian Fantasy! Especially not with petty things like logic and facts. I am hoping to write for the Guardian one day after all.

  20. However I should point out that my comment was mainly aimed at how useless solar power actually is.

  21. People are more sedentary these days plus central heating etc but I thought 2000 cals a day was the maintenance level set for the sedentary.

    Perhaps they are gradually trying to get folk used to calorie reductions in the Gulags.

  22. Early in the Second World War plans to feed the nation a ‘basal’ diet were discussed. This was worked out by nutritionists to ensure that everyone received the basic nutritional intake essential for their needs. This basal diet was to consist of 1lb of potatoes, 12oz of bread, 6oz of vegetables, 2oz of oatmeal, 1oz of fat and just over half a pint of milk per day – and no meat. The idea was that this would form the basis of a person’s daily food intake and other items would be surplus to their nutritional requirements.

    In 1940 the plan was vetoed by the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who enjoyed his food. Appalled at the idea of such a spartan approach, he wrote to the new Minister of Food, Lord Woolton:

    ‘The way to lose the war is to try to force the British public into a diet of milk, oatmeal, potatoes etc. washed down on gala occasions with a little lime juice.’

  23. @Theo – atkins “works” since a fat and protein rich diet keeps you sated for much longer, feeling less hungry.

    Fundamentally on the physical side it’s just thermodynamics, and a calorie is indeed just a calorie. It’s the psychological aspect that makes certain diets much easier to maintain.

    I’ve lost 18kg since the summer on a +/-1200 kcal/day diet, biased heavily towards fat & protein (but not Atkins / keto fanatical about it). Averaging about 1kg a week. A 2-week period early on was really hard and affected my cognition, but once I was through that it was great.

    And my experience has been a marvelous example of why BMI is beaulocks if you’re tall-ish – I’m 5’11”, and according to BMI the middle of the “normal” range is 68 kg. However, at 71kg I’m already starting to look hollow. At 68kg if I turned sideways I’d disappear.

  24. Also, 1800 kcal is going to be around basal metabolic rate for a lot of adult males, so what they’d burn slouching in front of the telly all day and not doing anything else…

    But we don’t have to worry about it cos nobody’s going to ever actually act on it.

  25. A 2-week period early on was really hard and affected my cognition, but once I was through that it was great.

    Yes, I found this as well, although my early period was only about 10 days. I found that using a single raw egg (try not to gag at the thought), was only about 68 calories and left me completely satiated for a couple of hours.

    So my diet at the moment is largely coffee, toast and eggs with a weekly “decent meal” down the pub on a Sunday with two pints of beer and some meat (usually lamb).

    It’s a bit dull, but manageable. I’m salivating over the thought of Sunday lunch from about midday on Friday though. 🙂

  26. Concentration camp inmates had between 800 and 1500 kcal/day depending on date and location.

    I’m not sure about the central heating theory, Australia has been getting fatter faster than the UK.

  27. @John Galt

    My diet has basically been:

    Breakfast: 4 rashers of Swiss bacon and 2 eggs (about 400kcal)
    Lunch: salad (400-500 kcal – the McDonald’s ones with chicken in are 450 kcal and awesome)
    Dinner: whatever Mrs has cooked, but a small portion (probably around 400-600kcal.
    Plus, Metamucil fibre supplement for … err… obvious reasons…

    Leaving me at about 1200 kcal, and sated. Plus, when I was in the serious weight-loss phase, missing dinner helped massively.

    Now, I’m trying to stabilise at 71kg, and I’m finding managing that harder than losing weight.

  28. And my experience has been a marvelous example of why BMI is beaulocks if you’re tall-ish – I’m 5’11”, and according to BMI the middle of the “normal” range is 68 kg. However, at 71kg I’m already starting to look hollow. At 68kg if I turned sideways I’d disappear.

    According to my calculations 156lbs / 71KG is the BMI mid point for someone of 5’11”.

  29. There’s a method of weight reduction I’ve talked a couple of people into. It works. I’d write a best selling diet book about it. If I could be bothered. Although it’d only be about a page & a half long. It’s very simple.
    Start by not eating. Three days is probably about right, although some of you could go longer. Nothing. Just liquids Amazingly, you won’t die. And it won’t do you the slightest harm. Your body’s designed for this. Then go to one food free day a week.
    You’ll be training your body to recognise hunger rather than the urge to stuff something in your gob because you haven’t for half an hour. Comfort eating. Let’s be honest. Most people in our culture have never actually been hungry in their lives.
    Other side of the experience, you’ll have shed the habitual eating habit. You’ll eat when you choose to.

  30. With central heating at 28.5C and walking the dog 4 or 5 times a day for 50 metres at a time I would lose weight at 2500 calories a day. I know because my intake is higher than that and I am slowly losing weight.

    These idiots can say they want a reduction in the calories we ingest – lets see them do it first and for a period of say a decade..
    In the meantime my quite efficient body will continue heating itself and providing the energy to do walks using the higher level of fuel intake it needs.

  31. I creep up to 84 kilos and then get serious about coming down.

    When young and amateur football fit, I weighed 73. Now I am happy at 78 kilos and 75 made my late father fear for my health.

    Out with the bread in the evening, small dinner portion of everything, no more than a couple of half-glasses of wine (except for Friday night and Sunday lunch. Absolutely no snacking except for the first two weeks when I carry an apple. Carrying it makes me able to not eat it.

    My scales operate on 100gram dividions. Marvellously motivating as even when you haven’t been a totally good boy the difference shows up. I weigh myself after a small fruit juice and an always successful visit (no problems there fortunately, clockwork doesn’t describe it) to the bathroom.

    The first 3 kilos fall off in no time which gets you through the difficult time. Then as others say, it becomes easy. The wife is little help as I have always been the family dustbin and she gets ratty when I refuse to finish whatever is still in the dish.

    My body, my rules 🙂

  32. abacab

    atkins “works” since a fat and protein rich diet keeps you sated for much longer, feeling less hungry.

    Fundamentally on the physical side it’s just thermodynamics, and a calorie is indeed just a calorie.

    That’s only partly true. Yes, a fat and protein diet keeps you sated for much longer. But it’s been known since at least the 1960s that it is possible to lose weight, without reducing the total amount of calories, by replacing carbohydrates with protein, because protein boosts the metabolism.

    In principle, protein, fat and carbohydrate are interchangeable. In practice, this is not so. Excess fat in the diet is difficult to tolerate as it slips through the digestive tract largely undigested. Excess protein is burned and not stored. Excess carbohydrate, however, is easily assimilated; and if the intake is not balanced by an equivalent output of energy, the excess is converted to fat. So, in practice, not all calories are equal.

    The restricted calorie version of the Atkins diet (like yours) works by forcing the body – by lack of carbohydrates – to burn fat. When the body burns its fat stores, ketones are produced and excreted in urine, breath, etc., leading to the familiar smell of acetone. Hence the halitosis associated with the Atkins diet. (Btw, the ‘odour of sanctity’ might well have been the odour of ketosis, due to starvation by fasting.)

  33. Tangent: I’m thinking about doing one of those food-stamp challenges (living on US$4.15 per day of food) in Switzerland at Swiss prices. Eminently doable (and including meat, even), but carb-heavy by necessity.

  34. A prima facie case for disbanding PHE. A government that thinks its job is to tell you how many calories to eat is out of control.

    “Said this before, but WTF are these dietary recommendations supposed to be for.”

    They are to give some dipshit busybody a job.

    Give PHE to the end of the month to clear out their desks. Ecksy’s gallows afterwards.

  35. “We’re all fat because we consume more calories than we expend”

    Did anyone ever think anything else?

    Anyone not a politically-motivated prodnose, that is.

  36. ““We’re all fat because we consume more calories than we expend”

    “Did anyone ever think anything else?””

    You can’t make money off that realization. So the magic food business has sprung up. No way to know if they really believe their schtick. I’m sure some do.

  37. The people who think we are all too fat won’t be happy while we have the ability to choose our own food.
    If my body my choice works for women regarding abortion then why not the same for alcohol, drugs, food etc?

    I like my food, I love an egg and bacon butty – I don’t have them often. Some things in moderation, some things regularly. 🙂

    The fact that we are rich enough to be able to choose food really annoys some people. And us people keep making the ‘wrong’ choices.

  38. These are bureaucrats. They do not know the calorie expenditures of any individual and have no reason to think that their recommendations are right for anyone in particular. Their hope is that more Stoic recommendations will be taken seriously by some. Their goal is not to improve anyone’s life but to measure a positive effect in national statistics (using their set of values). This is “enlightened” management of the human herd.

  39. 68kg? That’s 10 stone! That’s emaciated. I’m the same basal height as you and until my 30s I was a skinny 12.5st.

  40. If anyone wants a tip – MCT Oil is good.

    I find a teaspoon in my morning coffee is a great energy booster and staves off hunger.

  41. We’re all different so anyone who pronounces that we should *all* do anything (except breathe) is, ipso facto, an idiot.
    Anyone who recommends five meals a day as a means of losing weight is also an idiot. I eat two meals a day and I’m still overweight (compared to my healthy weight, not to BMI).

  42. “These are bureaucrats. They do not know the calorie expenditures of any individual”

    Just as important, they don’t know the WEIGHT of any individual.

    In the U.S., weight ‘data’ comes from extensive telephone surveys. They ask ‘random’ people how tall they are and how much they weigh. DOUBLE OUGHT ZERO is verified.

    Then, the government agents whose job is in weight information ADJUST THE DATA for reasons. Note that their jobs are dependent on there being a weight ‘problem.’

    ‘We are fat” is a government fabricated stereotype. It is NOT science.

    I don’t want to hear about the fat asses you see at Walmart. There is NO SCIENTIFIC DATA in the U.S.

  43. I read on the internet (so it must be true) that comatose patients in hospital are fed 1500 calories a day by drip.

    If that’s how we are living then I wonder why we bother eating at all?

  44. An additional two healthy snacks of up to 100 calories each are permitted

    Permitted? Fuck off.

    Central heating at 28.5

    I’d certainly lose body mass with that – about five litre of water a day in sweat.

  45. Gamecock — No, indeed! no one goes to Washington to “measure” anything, but to boss other people around. One must document a problem; and in fact, either success or failure at resolving it can be parlayed into an urgent need for increased funding.

    I see even fatter asses at the baseball stadium than at Walmart, but in each case no more than 2% of total attendance, and I ascribe even that to the huge amount of public benefits, such as the best parking spaces. There are more fatties at the 7/11, but that’s all about the joy of taking a cab to spend welfare dollars frivolously.

  46. Gamecock is right. The very fact that a bunch of impertinent cunts called Public Health England even exists is a fucking outrage. I know a good way to lose weight. It’s to round up every fucker who works for PHE, take them out on Dartmoor, give them a thirty minute head-start, and then hunt them down with dogs. They’d lose 3 lbs just from shitting themselves, the prodnose wankstains.

  47. “According to the government, adults currently consume an average of 200 to 300 more calories per day than they should. “

    There are reckoned to be about 3500 Calories per pound of fat, which is 49000 Calories for a stone of fat, which at 200 Calories added per day would see you gain a stone in weight every 245 days; about 8 months. After 20 years on that diet, age 40, you would be 30 stone overweight.

    How can people be so effin’ innumerate as to not notice that?!

  48. SE – an allergic reaction to the cold.
    28.5C at this time of year allows me to wear a t-shirt and trousers around the house. I keep allergic reactions to a minimum.

    Like any allergy (this one is chronic cold urticaria which does lead to anaphylaxis) the best way of coping is not to have an allergic reaction. Its a numbers game, literally.
    No allergic reactions, no anaphylaxis, no risk of death.

    For those of us with this one its keeping warm.

    My local pharmacy has air conditioning, on warmer days I cannot even go into the pharmacy to get meds without high risk.

  49. I liked the line in the Chris Snowdon book about the natural way to conclude a successful campaign. In his example it was PHE’s successes against communicable diseases. He said the natural next step was to stop the campaign, or dial it back to a level which stops the diseases emerging again.

    St Tony of Blair took the contrary view that the way to conclude a successful campaign against bastards in former Yugoslavia is to look elsewhere for more evil that threatens us, even it is imaginary. I didn’t like Tony and I don’t like PHE much either

  50. “According to the government, adults currently consume an average of 200 to 300 more calories per day than they should.“

    Find who in the government who said it and lock them up.

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