Mary Berry sets her sights on the nation's waistlines


The Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry has tackled the nation's basic baking skills, now she has her sights set on their waistlines.

Taking chef Jamie Oliver's sugar tax one step further, the health-conscious 81-year-old said she wants a total end to fizzy drinks and more education for parents on how to feed their children.

She told Good Housekeeping magazine: "It's very difficult. Many people think children must have chips. I don't think any household should have a deep fat fryer. I never fry a doughnut! If you want a doughnut, go and buy one once in a blue moon. It's about everything in moderation."

Adding that the problem is not lunchboxes, but what children are buying with their pocket money, she said: "I honestly think there shouldn't be sugared drinks. All my grandchildren drink water all through the day. I've just had them to stay and at breakfast they have water. They don't even know what sugary drinks are."

Berry revealed she will limit herself to just soup at lunchtime - which she knows the exact calorie count of - and eats from smaller plates loaded with green vegetables to keep herself trim when tasting the 36 cakes a day required during Bake Off filming.

"Freak diets, I don't think work. It's control," she said.

She might be the coolest octogenarian on television, but Berry said her life off screen remains pretty sedate.

"I'm quite ancient and I do what people expect me to do. On the whole, I am very law abiding. I am very well looked after," she said.

She dismissed the idea of getting a tattoo like her biggest female role model, Dame Judi Dench, but does have a design idea should she change her mind.

She protested: "No, thank you! There's absolutely no chance. My husband would loathe it!

"I don't like tattoos because tattoos are for ever. You might change your mind - although I could have a cupcake!"

Berry spilled the beans on the celebrities who take part in the charity specials of the BBC baking show, singling out comedians Dame Edna Everage and Jo Brand as the most memorable.

She said: "Everyone wants to take part now. They want the publicity! Samantha Cameron was so nervous and wished it was her daughter doing it. But she was lovely and amazing.

"She arrived so understated. So often the celebs come dressed up to the nines. But she wore muted colours, flat shoes and a big smile."

:: Read Mary Berry's full interview in the October 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale August 30.