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Report recommending people to eat fat sparks row among health experts

The report by the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration calls for a “major overhaul” of current dietary guidelines.
May 23rd 2016, 5:02 PM 20,787 39

A REPORT WHICH states that “eating fat does not make you fat” has been criticised for being “irresponsible and potentially deadly”.

The report by the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration calls for a “major overhaul” of current dietary guidelines.

It says the focus on low-fat diets is failing to address the obesity crisis, while snacking between meals is actually making people fat. It calls for a return to “whole foods” such as meat, fish and dairy.

The report by the health charity also argues that saturated fat does not cause heart disease while full-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, can protect the heart.

The most natural and nutritious foods available – meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, olive, avocados – all contain saturated fat. The continued demonisation of omnipresent natural fat drives people away from highly nourishing, wholesome and health-promoting foods.

It said sugar should be avoided and that a diet low in refined carbohydrates but high in healthy fats was “an effective and safe approach for preventing weight gain and aiding weight loss”.

However, Director of Diet and Obesity with Public Health England, Dr Alison Tedstone, said, “In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible.”

The report has been raised in the House of Commons as an urgent question and the UK’s health minister Alistair Burt has backed up Tedstone’s assessment.

The chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee said, “The conclusions of this report contradict much of the health and lifestyle advice issued by the government and the NHS over the last decade.

Ordinary people are now caught in a whirlwind of conflicting advice at a time when they desperately need clarity, consistency and straight talk.

Tedstone also said the National Obesity Forum quoted just 43 studies, some of which were comment pieces, whereas thousands of scientific studies were considered as part of the official guidance adopted throughout the UK.

This sentiment was further backed up by Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), who said: “This report is full of ideas and opinion, however it does not offer the robust and comprehensive review of evidence that would be required for the BHF, as the UK’s largest heart research charity, to take it seriously.”

Read: Do you pay attention to media reports about what foods to eat?>

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Cliodhna Russell


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