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New Book on Nutrition announced

Nutrition is fundamental: our health is in peril if we ignore this


The Building Blocks of Life: A Nutrition Foundation for Healthcare Professionals

By TC Callis

“Nutrition underpins the structure and function of every cell in our bodies.  It impacts on our physical and mental health long before conception and informs every aspect of our health until the moment of our death.  Feast or famine, deficiency or excess in the diets of our grandparents shows up in our own genetic coding which in turn influences our health throughout our lives.  We can do nothing to amend the diets of our ancestors.  But there is a lot we can do for ourselves.”

— TC Callis, from the Introduction to the book

The Building Blocks of Life aims to provide an understanding of the importance of nutrition to human health to all readers, whether they are primary care practitioners (GPs, pharmacists, midwives) or people who are simply interested to learn about nutrition and how their bodies work.  Unfortunately, most mainstream UK healthcare practitioners receive little or no nutrition education during their years of training.  This book aims to begin to shift that balance.

Currently, the primary focus of government nutrition policy in the UK is obesity.  From 1992 to 2020 the UK government formulated 689 public health nutrition policies to tackle obesity, yet these strategies have failed to have any impact, and the issue continues to grow.  Meanwhile UK government data shows worrying shortfalls of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients across the UK population.  The long-term health consequences of those shortfalls places a significant burden on an already overstretched and underfunded NHS.  Diet related conditions such as diabetes and obesity are already costing the NHS more than £16 billion a year, whilst hospital treatment for iron deficiency anaemia is costing in excess of £91 million a year.  Prevention would be far better – and cheaper – than treatment!

This book outlines some of the health implications of poor nutrition, particularly shortfalls in micronutrients.

For example, the UK is one of the most iodine deficient countries on the planet.

More than half of UK women of childbearing age have iodine levels that are so low that the lifelong cognitive abilities of any children they may have could be severely compromised.  Equally, more than half of all teenage girls in the UK have intakes of iron that are so low that they are at risk of anaemia.

These negative consequences could be minimised, corrected, or even prevented, yet the UK government is not looking at these issues at all.  Throughout the book, the author is highly critical of UK nutrition policy, which she views as hidebound and outdated.


The Building Blocks of Life also sets out evidence-based challenges to many public health myths which the UK government continues to adhere to.  Like the decades old fictions around fat consumption which is now being challenged by scientists on a global scale.  Or the UK government’s insistence that the average UK diet provides all the nutrition that we need to stay healthy, despite clear evidence that more than half of the food purchased in the UK is classified as ultra-processed and UK government data that shows clear micronutrient shortfalls. 

From the book’s Conclusion:

“Life expectancy in the UK is falling, with an increasing disparity between areas of deprivation and areas of wealth….Health inequalities and life expectancy are closely linked to diet…….Poor diet is one of the leading causes of avoidable harm to our health, and better access to, and knowledge of, healthy affordable food would make a huge difference to the lives of many millions of UK citizens…..Real food is the foundation of good health.  Real food that involves peeling and chopping and cooking and flavour and chewing and socializing and family and love.”

About the author:

TC Callis, a nutritionist and food regulatory expert, has worked for the UK Government and then for the food industry for several decades.

During this time, she has raised the profile of vitamin D at national level; initiated and driven a collaborative project with the whole food supplements industry and government to gain a health claim on folic acid and neural tube defects; commissioned multiple peer review papers and academic reports on the state of nutrition in the UK; and coordinated nine trade associations with varying agendas in responding to UK government consultations on the use of single-use plastics, packaging and recycling.

She is currently working as a freelance nutrition and advertising consultant to the food and advertising industries and is developing an education programme intended for primary care practitioners.

She also writes articles on nutrition, food and the politics of food for Kent Bylines, part of the Byline Times network.  She lives in London with her teenage son.


How to find the book.

The Building Blocks of Life: A Nutrition Foundation for Healthcare Professionals

By TC Callis

PB £24.99, eBook £22.49

302pp, incl. 3 colour & 17 B/W illustrations

ISBN: 9781032271118

Published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group)

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