Forget saturated fat, it's refined carbs we should be worrying about ...

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Trying to reduce saturated fat is all well and good, but replacing it with refined carbohydrates could create more problems than it solves, according to one expert in the field of diet and glycaemic response.

Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk on day two of the International Functional Foods Conference in Oxford,​ Professor Jeya Henry said the role of carbohydrates in cardiovascular disease risk had been underestimated as nutritionists and politicians focused their attention on trying to cut saturated fat intakes.

But replacing saturated fat with refined carbs was potentially counterproductive, said Henry, with growing numbers of scientists now convinced that the high fasting blood glucose levels associated with high-Gi diets were a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as type II diabetes.

While low-GI health claims had suffered a setback​ in Europe following a negative opinion from EFSA, the long-term prospects for low-Gi foods and claims remained positive, insisted Henry, a professor of human nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and head of the university's new functional foods centre.

"In the future the issue is how are we going to reconvene and repackage some of the earlier work that's been done to provide much more substantive evidence to show that the type of carbohydrate that you consume is more important than the type of fat that you consume."

Related topics: NPD

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