Public Health England has decided that we should all be eating on the 400-600-600 plan. 400 calories for breakfast and 50% more for each of lunch and dinner. Quite why all should be gaining more calories from solid food than any journalist has ever done we're not quite sure.
There's a problem here though, some people do actually obey the rules:
Under its new ‘One You’ campaign, launched today, Britons are being encouraged to stick to 400 calories at breakfast, and 600 calories for both lunch and dinner.
Critics branded the daily allowance too low for growing children and close to war rations, but public health experts warned that obesity had now become ‘the norm’ and said most people were eating hundreds of extra calories each day.
Even with the significant decline in energy expended in this modern world 1600 calories a day isn't enough to sustain a healthy life long term.
PHE's underlying point is, well it's a claim at least, that everyone lies about how much they're eating., So, set the limit well under what is healthy, everyone lies, they'll be eating the right amount.
The problem being that not everyone does lie, disobey the rules. Different societies, different cultures, will have differing numbers of scoff laws of course, We'd not expect Italians and Germans to have the same incidence of jaywalking for example. We British tend to have more rule obeyers than many other cultures - perhaps not quite as many as the Germans but still.
Which is where PHE is making their mistake. They're noting that on average we lie, as with on average the population's number of legs is less than two. But knowing the number of legs is of no use to the provision of artificial limbs. So too that some lie is of no use in setting calorie targets. For some to many don't.
There will be those who follow this advice religiously and who therefore damage their health. Which really isn't what PHE should be doing, is it? It's the old grand delusion, treating us as a population to be managed rather than the individual humans we are.