Public lecture explores the modern British diet and its health implications

Posted on 8th December 2017

The British diet, and how it has changed in recent decades, is the topic of a public lecture taking place at the University of Chester next week.

Professor Stephen Fallows
Professor Stephen Fallows

Professor Stephen Fallows, from the Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition, will use his professorial inaugural lecture to explore Britain’s 21st century diet, and its move from basic home cooking to factory prepared foods. 

While it is often documented that massive changes have taken place to the technology around us, for example, mobile phones, computers, and the internet, we tend to forget that the British diet has similarly undergone huge changes in recent times. Residents of the 1950s, and earlier, would be amazed at today’s British diet – its diversity, its convenience, the big supermarkets (not corner shops) and more. In the same period, nutritionists have moved their thinking from concern about food inadequacy to even greater concern over dietary super-abundance. The nation has unwantedly moved up the European obesity league with its wider health and financial implications.

Professor Fallows will explore these issues using a mixture of personal reflections and published data. He said: "Britain's diet has changed more in my lifetime than in the 100s of years which preceded it. We have moved from the rationing of sugar, through easy and cheap access, to the Government's forthcoming sugar levy on sweetened soft drinks.

“Along with the rest of the western world, Britain has adopted an "obesogenic" lifestyle, where sedentary behaviour and excessive food consumption is the norm - we eat too much and walk too little.

“Most of us have moved from basic home cooking to the reheating of factory prepared foods. It may be quick and easy, but what is the effect on health?”

Britain’s Nutrition Transition – A (personal) social history of food, nutrition and health takes place on Thursday December 14, at 6.30pm in the Binks Building Lecture Theatre. Complimentary refreshments will be served from 6pm in the Binks Brasserie. Entry to the lecture is free, but booking is essential. Please email: or telephone 01244 511344, to book your place.