UK experts have warned that the current dietary guidelines to eat less fat are having “disastrous health consequences”.
The National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the Public Health Collaboration (PHC) have both called for a major overhaul to current dietary guidelines. The UK’s official health policy for the last 30 years has been to eat a low-fat diet; the NOF and PHC have both released reports calling for change.
The new NOF report argues that eating a low-fat diet to lower cholesterol levels is based on “flawed science” and has led to an increased consumption of junk food and carbohydrate. The PHC, an independent non-profit organisatio, has also called for official dietary guidelines to advocate low-carb diets.
The current guidelines are to blame for Britain’s high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, the reports add. Snacking was also found to be a leading cause of the current obesity crisis.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, Public Health Collaboratio, said that dietary guidelines promoting low-fat foods “is perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history, resulting in devastating consequences for public health”.
“Sadly this unhelpful advice continues to be perpetuated,” said Malhotra. “We must urgently change the message to the public to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes. Eat fat to get slim. Don’t fear fat; fat is your friend.”
People with diabetes have long been advised to eat high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets, but recent research is proving that a low-carb, high-fat diet is much more beneficial for blood glucose levels and weight loss.
In the new NOF report, evidence was highlighted in multiple trials that found a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diet outperformed a low-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular risk reduction.
The report also urged people with type 2 diabetes to eat a fat-rich diet rather than a high-carb diet, and to avoid foods labelled “low-fat” or “lite” because there isn’t strong enough evidence to show that reducing saturated fat lowers the risk of cardiovascular events and death. Moreover, eating full fat dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese was actually found to protect the heart.
Professor David Haslam, NOF chairma, said: “As a clinician treating patients all day every day, I quickly realised that guidelines from on high suggesting high carbohydrate, low-fat diets were the universal panacea, were deeply flawed.
“Current efforts have failed, the proof being that obesity levels are higher than they have ever bee, and show no chance of reducing despite the best efforts of government and scientists.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, has defended the body’s latest EatWell advice, which recommends eating lower-fat, high-carb foods.
“In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible,” she said.
To find out more about the benefits of eating a low-carb diet, check out the free Low-Carb Program – a free 10-week program that can help people with diabetes achieve better blood glucose control and lose weight.