Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Thursday, June 18, 1998 Published at 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK


Beans get the red card

Beans on toast - England's unofficial national dish - gets sent home

In a World Cup beset by controversy, England's footballers have been asked to make the ultimate sacrifice - they have been banned from eating baked beans.

The Football Association said England's dietician, Dr John Crane, had shown the tea-time favourite the red card.

The baked beans will be replaced by boiled broccoli, spinach and pasta because they are too high in sugar. It has disappointed skipper Alan Shearer who is said to be a big fan of the tomato-flavoured dish.

A spokesman from the Football Association said: "With sugar levels so high, it could upset the finely-tuned balance of the players' diets."

Eating habits

The decision follows closely the debate about Paul Gascoigne's diet. The midfield star, dropped from the England squad for being unfit, was pictured eating a chicken kebab shortly before the World Cup. He was also criticised for drinking alcohol and smoking.

Heinz - the most well-known face of beans - said it cannot understand the decision since it has won awards for lowering the sugar content of its product by a fifth to around 6%.

A spokesman said the decision to relegate beans to the subs bench was "like starving" the players.

"Baked beans contain complex starches needed to release a slow, regular source of energy. The sugar content in the sauce doesn't matter at all - they will burn that off in no time."

The Arsenal way

Diet has become an integral part of player preparation. Continental teams have monitored the food intake of their athletes for several years.

British football teams have now taken up the practice as well. Arsenal, under French manager Arsene Wenger, have pioneered the new approach. Their players, including England squad members David Seaman and Martin Keown, said the controlled diet had a big impact on their double-winning season.

Dr John Crane is also the Arsenal club doctor. Glenn Hoddle, the England manager, player under Arsene Wenger at Monaco and is known to follow many of the Frenchman's methods.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes
Relevant Stories

20 May 98 | Latest News
The Arsenal diet

20 May 98 | Latest News
The menu for World Cup success

Internet Links

Food resource

Discovery Channel on beans

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99