It’s not what you'd expect from a man who is regularly quoted warning of the dangers of obesity.

But health secretary Andrew Lansley has admitted he is overweight.

The confession comes as Lansley told the media about a new system of food labelling, warning that "an unhealthy diet can lead to serious illnesses such as cancer and type 2 diabetes".

He confessed to the Mail on Sunday: "I am overweight." But he said his problem was with desserts, rather than drinking too much. ‘I haven’t put on any weight in the past 10 years. I found that the amount you eat in the evening makes the biggest difference. It turns to fat and you don’t burn it off. I love pudding, but not for dinner...

"I’m pretty restrained with alcohol, as my advisers will tell you."

Meanwhile, talks which may lead to a nationwide system of displaying health information on food packages are being launched by the government.

Manufacturers, retailers and nutrition experts are expected to take part in the consultation being launched by Lansley on Monday.

The government wants to see a common system to show - on the front of packs - how much fat, salt and sugar, and how many calories are contained in products, like the health secretary's much-loved desserts.

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