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Lords Food, Diet and Obesity Committee hears from senior experts on healthy diets and health outcomes and the microbiome

Tuesday 27 February 2024

On Thursday 29 February, the House of Lords Food, Diet and Obesity Committee will hold two evidence sessions with senior academics and experts as it continues its inquiry considering the role of ultra-processed food and foods high in fat, salt and sugar in a healthy diet and tackling obesity.

The sessions will consider what a healthy diet looks like and the role of dietary guidelines in strategies for tackling obesity and diet-related disease. The Committee will also explore the role that the gut microbiome plays in health outcomes and how this is affected by diet.

The first session will start at 10.30am and will be available to watch live or on demand at Parliament TV or attend in person in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster.

Giving evidence will be:


  • Professor Janet Cade, Head of the Nutritional Epidemiology Group, University of Leeds;
  • Rob Percival, Head of Food Policy, Soil Association; and
  • Professor Eric Robinson, Professor of Psychology and Public Health, University of Liverpool.


  • Professor Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London and Founder of ZOE; and
  • Dr Keren Papier, Senior Nutritional Epidemiologist, University of Oxford.

Questions will include:

  • What is a healthy diet, and how does poor diet contribute to rates of obesity and ill health?

  • What is ultra-processed food (UPF) and how useful is this term? What factors distinguish UPF from HFSS products, and how much do they overlap?

  • What does the evidence tell us about the health impacts of UPF and HFSS consumption?

  • What role does the gut microbiome play in health outcomes and how is this affected by diet?

  • How influential is the food industry in driving poor health outcomes and in the wider policymaking process, and which specific elements of the industry are most influential? What is the role and responsibility of the food industry in tackling obesity?

  • How effective are current government approaches, including dietary guidelines and the Nutrient Profiling Model, in tackling obesity and diet-related disease?

  • What are the most effective strategies for tackling obesity and diet-related disease and reducing associated health inequalities?

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