| 13.4°C Dublin

Bake Off Berry 'a healthy role model'


Mary Berry

Mary Berry

Mary Berry

Great British Bake Off presenter Mary Berry, famed for her calorific cakes, should be a role model for people wanting to eat a healthy diet, scientists have said.

The 79-year-old food writer was praised for her attitude towards the high-fat masterpieces she is renowned for making and getting contestants on the BBC show to make, because she eats only a small amount of such foods.

The group of leading nutritional scientists said a diet low in saturated fat, along with keeping active, is key to a healthy lifestyle, and criticised a recent study that played down links between saturated fat and the risk of heart disease.

Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London, said: "Mary Berry cooks these cakes with everything we think is awful - sugar, saturated fat and cream - but she said 'I only eat a little bit of it', and I think that is the key to it."

The scientists speaking at London's Science Media Centre said more needs to be done to counteract the marketing of high-calorie snack foods and coffees.


While the average diet contains less saturated fat than it did 40 years ago, obesity continues to rise.

The scientists said this is because while people have changed the way they eat at home, they are more sedentary and the foods they eat while out are bigger in portion and calorie count.

Prof Sanders added that "susceptible" people are having food "pushed on to them" and could not say no.

"You go and get a coffee and you are offered a muffin with it. Or if I buy a magazine I'm offered a 100g bar of chocolate, which I don't need," he said.

"There is a whole thing about the marketing of food. I have referred to one retailer where you have to queue up as being the 'walk of shame' - you have all the high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat snacks in the way and I think that is part of the problem."

The balance between diet, alcohol intake and exercise level is the key to keeping your weight down and lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes, the scientists said.