UK obesity forum criticises low-fat diets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th May 2016

CheeseA group of UK health and nutrition professionals has criticised the idea that fat should be avoided as part of a healthy diet.

Writing in a report, the UK National Obesity Forum argues dietary advice to choose “low-fat” or “lite” options is out-dated and incorrect.

The report cites a number of studies which have found saturated fats do not cause heart disease or obesity.

“In retrospect, there was never any strong evidence to recommend reducing total and saturated fat consumption,and in the 30 years since, the deteriorating health of the UK population suggests such advice may have been a dire mistake, however well-intentioned,” the report states.

The Forum particularly takes aim at the UK’s public health care system, the National Health Service, for promoting low-fat options and recommending fat intake accounts for no more than 35 per cent of a total diet.

“Putting restrictions on total fat is becoming so unconvincing that in the most recent Dietary Guidelines For Americans the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have completely removed their limit of 30% on total fat and now no longer place any restrictions on total fat intake,” the report says.

The report also recommends starchy and refined carbohydrates be limited to help prevent and reverse diabetes.

“A recent comprehensive review concludes that dietary carbohydrate restriction is the “single most effective intervention for reducing all of the features of the metabolic syndrome” and should be the first approach in diabetes management,” the Forum says.

Report draws criticism

Although this report from the UK National Obesity Forum has cited several recent scientific studies, it has drawn criticism from several health and nutritional professionals.

Jim Mann, Professor of Nutrition from the University of Otago said the research used in the report does not acknowledge study limitations.