Health expert Tim Spector says one thing about plans to ban junk food

Professor Tim Spector
-Credit: (Image: Zoe)

Scientist and health expert Tim Spector is a pioneer in the fight against ultra-processed food. He is a champion of eating a gut-friendly diet full of whole foods and plants, and wants to see health warnings on ultra-processed foods.

Ultra-processed foods can be defined as anything with ingredients that you wouldn't have in a domestic kitchen. It is stuff like chocolates, sweets, biscuits, but also ready meals, supermarket pizzas and battered foods.

Co-founder of science and nutrition company Zoe and author of the Sunday Times best-selling Food for Life and Spoon fed, Professor Spector has earned his credentials as a leader in the health and wellness space. And he believes that to combat rising levels of obesity and poor health, we need drastic measures against junk food.

READ MORE: The three things the Welsh Government wants shops to stop doing so people buy less junk food

READ MORE: The 18 types of junk food the Welsh Government wants to clamp down on

This week he highlighted the need for more discussion around our obesity and health crisis in the political space in the UK. He said on X, formerly known as Twitter: "It seems amazing to me that we are having no political discussion whatsoever on how to reverse our obesity and health crisis that costs nearly £90 billion annually with simple measures like expanding the sugar tax or putting warnings on UPFs. Shows the power of the food lobby in the U.K" For the latest health and Covid news, sign up to our newsletter here

While the Welsh Government has not announced plans to put warnings on ultra-processed foods, it has announced plans to restrict how they are sold. The restrictions the Welsh Government hopes to introduce focus on three areas; banning free refills on sugary drinks, restricting where high fat and high sugar foods can be placed in supermarkets (such as at the ends of aisles and checkouts) and a ban on multibuy offers.

Prof Spector has given his opinion on the plans, and described them as a "necessary step", but added that the issue of obesity is not just a concern in Wales, but the rest of the UK.

Prof Spector said: “The proposed restrictions are a necessary step in tackling the obesity crisis that exists not only in Wales but in the rest of the UK. We need to clamp down on advertising unhealthy products as healthy to consumers through tactics such as misleading offers and mislabelling - which is a widespread and dangerous issue.

“Governments need to act urgently, as consumers are up against huge companies with billions of pounds to spend who don’t view our health as a priority - and it’s already a burden on our healthcare system. It’s up to us, as a society, to stop companies who will willingly lie to the consumer about their food being ‘healthy’, when, in fact, they’re high in sugar and fat and full of chemicals.

“How are parents meant to walk into a shop and know what’s good for their family and what isn’t when they’re being fooled by false advertising on nearly every product they pick up? We should go one step further by putting health warnings on ultra-processed foods and banning fast food advertising, especially for children, who we should be protecting.”