For those of you that missed the press release last week, here it is:
A stinging report from the National Obesity Forum in association with the Public Health Collaboration calls for an urgent overhaul in current dietary guidelines which are blamed for driving the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Receives widespread support from internationally renowned academics, doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, sports scientists and health activists.
Eating Fat does not make you fat, saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease, avoid “low fat” and “proven to lower cholesterol foods” and high omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable oils, stop counting calories and reduce starchy and refined carbohydrates to reverse type 2 diabetes are some of the recommendations produced by the National Obesity Forum in association with the Public Health Collaboration.
“The role of poor dietary advice has been ignored for too long. Specifically the “low fat” and “lower cholesterol” message have had disastrous health consequences” the authors state with the change dietary guidelines in the USA in 1977 and UK in 1983 being a root cause driving the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Science has also been corrupted by commercial interests” with “undue influence” of the food industry on official guideline bodies posing a “significant threat to public health.” But the “real scandal is that academics, institutions and journals whose primary responsibility is to patients and scientific integrity have at times colluded with industry for financial gain” they write.
They state that “ the most natural and nutritious foods available – meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, olive, avocados – all contain saturated fat. The continued demonization of omnipresent natural fat drives people away from highly nourishing wholesome and health promoting foods.”
They also cite recent high quality research that suggests full fat dairy is protective against type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Citing a survey from investment bank Credit Suisse the report also highlights a “substantial level of misinformation” amongst doctors and nutritionists in relation to dietary advice. Most “shocking” is that 83% of doctors thought butter was worse than margarine and 66% believed vegetable oils are beneficial for health.”
“Given the immediate health threat posed by diet related disease we believe that it is imperative that education curricula for undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education incorporate up to date evidence based nutrition.”
“Health professionals and the public must shift focus away from total and LDL cholesterol as a marker of cardiovascular health” they write.
“Evidence clearly shows that that a cholesterol profile characterised by high triglycerides and low HDL is more predictive of cardiac risk and a reliable surrogate marker of insulin resistance” which is the most important risk factor for heart attack in young men.
In relation to type 2 diabetes which is a condition of “carbohydrate intolerance” they refer to the recent work of award winning GP and RCGP clinical expert in diabetes Dr David Unwin who from putting his patients on a low carb/high fat diet has saved the NHS £45,000 per year for medications for diabetes compared to the average for his clinical commissioning group.
Replicating these results in the “9400 surgeries across the UK could potentially save the NHS £423 million/year on diabetes medications alone.”
Referring to industrial vegetable oils the authors specify “omega-6 rich vegetable oil (such as sunflower and corn oil), linked to the increased risk of death, coronary heart disease, and cancer in humans as well as the growth of cancer in animal models cannot be considered safe. Indeed, it can barely be considered a food” the report states.
“This is not only about preventing disease, but involves nutritional interventions that address and eliminate the root causes of chronic disease as opposed to a limited model of treating symptoms and risk factors with pharmacotherapy” they write. “The fact that prescription medications are the third most common cause of death globally after heart disease and cancer should be a wake up call that the future of healthcare will require a strategy that incorporates evidence based lifestyle changes to treat illness in addition or often as an alternative to medical treatments which come with side effects,” they conclude.
The complete ten points are:
1. Eating fat does not make you fat.
2. Saturated fat does not cause heart disease. Full fat dairy is likely protective.
3. Processed foods labelled “low fat”, “lite”, “low cholesterol” or “proven to lower cholesterol” should be avoided.
4. Limit starchy and refined carbohydrates to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes.
5. Optimum sugar consumption for health is ZERO.
6. Industrial vegetable oils should be avoided.
7. Stop counting calories ( calorie focused thinking has damaged public health).
8. You cannot outrun a bad diet.
9. Snacking will make you fat.
10. Evidence based nutrition should be incorporated into education curricula for all healthcare professionals.
Professor David Haslam, Chair of the National Obesity Forum 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. My patients don’t lose weight, or improve their health by cutting fats, or calories. By working in the real world, rather than in a research lab or government department, it became clear that people will choose which food they eat, but may need guidance in how to enjoy their food but simultaneously avoid foods which will do them harm. I often contrast a Carravagio still-life masterpiece, giving ideal positive images of healthy food – pheasant, meat, fish, wine, cocoa, fruit and vegetable, with maybe a slice of bread – with the negative image of a traditional ‘Diet’ – and the strict instruction to cut out everything people enjoy, and wonder where the world went wrong! Current efforts have failed – the proof being that obesity levels are higher than they have ever been, and show no chance of reducing despite the best efforts of Government and Scientists. A new approach is needed, although ‘new’ actually means a return to 18th century values, drawn up before modern interference with basic principles occurred.”
Dr Aseem Malhotra, Consultant Cardiologist, Senior Advisor to the National Obesity Forum, member of the Greater London Authority Food Board and founding member of the Public Health Collaboration said,
“The change in dietary advice to promote “low fat foods” in 1977 and 1983 in the USA and UK respectively is perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history resulting in devastating consequences for public health. Sadly this unhelpful advice continues to be perpetuated. The current EatWell guide from Public Health England is in my view more like a metabolic time bomb than a dietary pattern conducive for good health. 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. It’s now truly time to bring back the fat.”
Professor Robert Lustig, Professor of Paediatrics, Division of Endocrinology and Member, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco and President, Institute of Responsible Nutrition said,
“Einstein’s theory of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. The newly elaborated science of nutrition documents the reasons for our futility in dealing with the obesity and diabetes epidemics, yet national guidelines continue to espouse no changes in practice. To its credit Brazil just issued its dietary guidelines, and it was about real food rather than about nutrients or calories. Likewise, this new National Obesity Forum and Public Health Collaboration guideline focuses on real food over processed food, and makes the case that the entire healthcare complex needs to relearn nutrition in order to be effective advocates for their patients. I couldn’t agree more.”
Dr Trudi Deakin PhD, Chief Executive and Research Dietician for X-Pert Health and founding member of the Public Health Collaboration said,
“Dietitians professional code of conduct states that it is their responsibility to keep abreast of the latest research evidence. This allows freedom to work outside non-evidence based guidelines. Dietitians have the opportunity to set the record straight and provide the public with dietary advice that will really impact positively on their health and wellbeing by preventing and potentially reversing obesity and Type 2 diabetes”
Samuel Feltham, Director of the Public Health Collaboration and Master Personal Trainer said,
“One of the biggest misconceptions that still exists out there is that people can eat what they like as long as they exercise when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s time to promote a real food lifestyle which means nourishing the body with the best fuel and doing the right type and amount of exercise for the purposes of good health for all ages and all sizes, not for the purpose of weight loss.”
Professor Grant Schofield, Professor of Public Health, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, said,
“Evidence-based nutrition is what is needed to turn us around, and bring us on a course where we can help those most in need. People suffering diabetes and associated metabolic diseases are paradoxically most affected by a set of public health nutrition guidelines we can best describe as outdated and never proven science.”
The full detailed and referenced embargoed report, including a more extensive document from the Public Health Collaboration on healthy eating guidelines and weight loss advice, will be published on the NOF and PHC websites on Monday 23rd May.
Notes: The Public Health Collaboration is a non-profit organisation dedicated to informing and implementing healthy decisions for the UK.Its founding members include General Practitioner and Deputy Chairman of the BMA, Dr Kailash Chand OBE, Dr David Cavan, Director of Policy and Research at the International Diabetes Federation, and Consultant Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra.
Full list of additional signatories supporting the report including international experts are:
Dr Zoe Harcombe, Obesity researcher.
Professor Robert Lustig, Professor of Paediatrics, Division of Endocrinology and Member, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco
Dr Jason Fung, Nephrologist and Chief of the Department of Medicine, The Scarborough Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Dr James Di-Nicolantonio, Cardiovascular research scientist, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Dr Eric Westman, President of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians Dr Michael and Dr Mary Eades, California, USA
Professor Timothy Noakes, Emeritus Professor of Sports Medicine and Exercise Science, University of Cape Town
Mrs Karen Thomson, Best-selling author and health activist.
Dr Caryn Zinn, Dietician and Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Professor Grant Schofield, Professor of Public Health, Auckland University of Technology, New ZealandProfessor Peter Brukner, Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician, Australian Cricket Team Doctor, Professor of Sports Medicine, La Trobe UniversityDr Ross Walker, Cardiologist, Lindfield Cardiology, Sydney Australia
Damon Gameau, Film maker and health activist, Melbourne, Australia
Christine Cronau, Nutritionist and best-selling author, Brisbane, Australia
Caitlin Dalton, Nutritionist, Brisbane, Australia
I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar with Dr Aseem Malhotra on the 9th of June at 7pm SAST. Click on button below to register: