Official bodies hit back after obesity and public health activists criticise fat avoidance recommendations
AN obesity charity has sparked heated debate after urging people to eat more fat if they want to lose weight.
The report from the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration advises consumers to “eat fat, cut the carbs and avoid snacking” to reverse obesity and diabetes.
It attacks official advice from the government, which has long advocated low fat diets to reduce weight and improve health.
Accusing major public health bodies of colluding with the food industry, the report says the low-fat and low-cholesterol message was based on “flawed science” which has resulted in an increased consumption of junk food and carbohydrates.
Rather than fat, it argues people should reduce their sugar intake and eat more ‘whole foods’ such as meat, fish and dairy, as well as high-fat, healthy foods like avocados, arguing: “Eating fat does not make you fat.”
The report quickly provoked a broad backlash among the established food science community.
Professor Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London called it “potentially harmful”, while Professor Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow said it was “highly contentious and could have adverse public health consequences”.
However, Professor Iain Broom, director of the Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology at Robert Gordon University, said: “At long last there is some sense coming into dietary advice that may eventually lead to improved health.”
Public Health England, which produces the Eatwell Guide at the centre of much of the report’s criticism, called it “irresponsible and misleading”, while Food Standards Scotland said a majority of Scottish people are already confused by contradictory dietary advice and the new report would simply add to that.
An FSS spokesperson said: “If consumers want to know what they should do then they should use the Eatwell Guide as their reference to what is a healthy diet, rather than a range of studies that say one thing one week, and something else that comes out the next week telling them the opposite.”