Why should I eat a healthier diet?

Eating a healthier diet can help you keep your body healthy

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing a number of serious health issues. Currently, around two-thirds of adults in Scotland are living with either overweight or obesity. 

Simply put, excess weight and obesity are caused by consuming more energy than you use over a period of time. Our food environment which promotes cheap, high fat, salt and sugar foods over fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods, which are better for us, contributes to us taking in more energy than we need.

If you’re worried about your weight, you can calculate your BMI (body mass index) using a BMI calculator. For many people it is a useful indicator of whether they are a healthy weight or not.

Eating too many foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar and not enough fruit, vegetables and wholegrains can cause a number of illnesses.


  • Around 40% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Carrying excess weight, eating lots of red and processed meat and drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of a number of different types of cancer
  • Eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods can reduce your risk of certain types of cancer


  • Carrying excess weight, especially around your middle, increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • If you are living with excess weight or obesity, any amount of weight loss can help to reduce your risk
  • Choosing sugar free/no added sugar food and drinks, and eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods are ways that you can make changes to your diet to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Cardiovascular disease and stroke

  • Carrying too much weight can lead to a fatty build up in your arteries, raise your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels
  • As well as carrying excess weight, consuming too much fat, salt and alcohol can also increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Eating better over time to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
Healthy Eating Tutorial

Food Standards Scotland’s online Healthy Eating Tutorial can help you understand what a healthy diet looks like, why it’s important, and what help is available to achieve it. There is also an optional assessment module and provided you pass you will receive a certificate. 

Making a change

How to make small, manageable changes to what you eat and drink.

Make a change