Boris Johnson says the best way to lose weight ‘is to eat less’ and rules out new taxes on junk food

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Boris Johnson today told fat Britons that ‘eating less’ is the best way to lose weight.

The Prime Minister, who has repeatedly battled his own bulge, ruled out taxing sugary and salty food amid the cost of living crisis.

A levy was recommended by his own food tsar, Leon-founder Henry Dimbleby, who wanted food manufacturers and restaurants to pay an extra £3 or £6 per kg of sugar and salt, respectively.

But the radical proposal, dubbed ‘nanny state meddling’, was not included in No10’s new food plan.

Eton-educated Mr Dimbleby claimed the strategy failed to deliver what was needed in the fight against obesity.

Mr Johnson, however, defended the move on a trip to the Southern England Farms in Hayle, Cornwall today.

He told reporters: ‘What we don’t want to do right now is start whacking new taxes on them that will just push up the cost of food…

‘Of course we’ve got to champion healthy eating, got to help people to lose weight, there are all sorts of ways of doing that. 

‘The best way to lose weight, believe me, is to eat less.’

The PM also said that companies are already shrinking sugar and salt content ‘very substantially’.

Defending the move in Cornwall today, Mr Johnson told reporters that 'whacking new taxes' on food makers would 'just push up the cost of food' and the companies are already shrinking sugar and salt content 'very substantially'

Defending the move in Cornwall today, Mr Johnson told reporters that ‘whacking new taxes’ on food makers would ‘just push up the cost of food’ and the companies are already shrinking sugar and salt content ‘very substantially’

Johnson defends food strategy amid criticism from Government´s own lead adviser 

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash after shelving plans to extend free school meals to nearly 1.1million children whose families are on Universal Credit – as he prepares to unveil his food strategy.

Henry Dimbleby, the independent advisor who led a comprehensive review of the country’s food system, has called on the Government to provide free school meals to all families in receipt of universal credit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to be planning to shelve an extension to free school meals for all Universal Credit households when the Government publishes a response to the food review today – instead ‘keeping it under review’.

Currently, most pupils in Year 3 and older do not qualify for free school meals if their household income is in excess of £7,400 a year.

The Government pays £2.30 for every child per meal in England, but the figure has remained the same for several years despite inflation.

But Mr Dimbleby, co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, said inflation and the cost of living crisis has left more families requiring free school meals, while reducing the buying power of schools to provide children with nutritious food. 

Mr Johnson, an avid runner, claimed to have lost a stone in the summer of 2020 after being shaken by his crippling near-fatal bout of Covid.

At his heaviest, he is thought to have weighed 16.5st (105kg).

His weight-loss regime included going for early-morning runs with dog Dilyn, cutting his carb intake and avoiding chocolate and ‘late-night cheese’. It left him feeling ‘full of beans’.

His brush with Covid also prompted him to declare war on obesity. 

Six in 10 Britons are overweight or obese, and this figure is set to rise to seven in 10 by 2040. 

The NHS already spends more than £6billion per year treating obesity-related health problems.

But despite the pledge, Mr Johnson last month U-turned on rules which would have banned BOGOF and other multi-buy junk food deals from October.

Free refills of sugary soft drinks will also be allowed for another year, despite plans to axe them.

However, from October ministers are going ahead with plans that will see foods high in fat, sugar or salt banned from checkouts and store entrances. And rules came into effect in April requiring restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 staff to list calories on their menus.

His comments come after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs today unveiled a food strategy, which sets out aims for the UK to grow more of its own food.

But the plan, which followed Mr Dimbleby’s Government-commissioned review of Britain’s food system, did not implement his central idea of taxing food makers.

The Leon-founder called for a tax to incentivise healthier recipe reformulation or smaller portion sizes.

The tax would have seen a £3 tax per kg of sugar and a £6 per kg tax of salt sold for use in processed foods, in restaurants and catering businesses.

He said the move would have raised up to £4billion to spend on getting fresh food to poorer households, such as by expanding free school meals and enabling GPs to prescribe fruit and vegetables to patients suffering from diet-related illness or food insecurity.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Dimbleby conceded there had been some ‘progress’ in the final document but that it failed to deliver what was needed.

‘Is it the big, bold, unified strategy I think we need? No,’ he said. ‘Do I think we’re going in the right direction? Yes.’

Ministers have today said that the Government has accepted the majority of Mr Dimbleby’s recommendations.

The review also urged the Government to ‘nudge’ consumers into changing their meat-eating habits.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice confirmed that ministers did not want people to lessen their consumption.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that technologies can be used to reduce methane emissions from livestock production instead.

After the draft strategy was leaked, Mr Johnson said: ‘Our food strategy sets out a blueprint for how we will back farmers, boost British industry and help protect people against the impacts of future economic shocks by safeguarding our food security.

‘Harnessing new technologies and innovation, we will grow and eat more of our own food — unlocking jobs across the country and growing the economy, which in turn will ultimately help to reduce pressure on prices.’

Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of farming group Sustain, said: ‘In the face of multiple crises in the cost of living, rocketing obesity, climate change and nature loss, the Government food strategy looks shamefully weak.

‘Government was given crystal clear analysis and a set of recommendations by the Dimbleby food strategy, and has chosen to take forward only a handful of them.

‘This isn’t a strategy, it’s a feeble to-do list, that may or may not get ticked.’  

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk



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