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


Health

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.



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