PHE brands advice to eat more fat ‘irresponsible’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Advice to eat more fat has been branded as 'irresponsbile'
Advice to eat more fat has been branded as 'irresponsbile'

Related tags: Nutrition

Advice to eat more fat in a bid to tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes, from the National Obesity Forum (NOF), has been branded as irresponsible by Public Health England (PHE).

The authority’s chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, said: “In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible.

“Unlike this opinion piece​ [from the NOF], our independent experts review all the available evidence – often thousands of scientific papers – run full-scale consultations and go to great lengths to ensure no bias.”

“International health organisations agree that too much saturated fat raises cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease and obesity is caused by consistently consuming too many calories.”

‘Too much saturated fat raises cholesterol’

The NOF report claimed that current dietary guidelines were wrong. It advised consumers to eat a diet high in fat (including saturated fat) and low in carbohydrate to prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The group, chaired by Professor David Haslam and including consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, issued a 10-point advice plan in association with Public Health Collaboration.

Topping the list were the controversial claims “eating fat does not make you fat” and “saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease. Full fat dairy is likely protective.” ​See the full list below.

The organisations said in a statement: “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 …”

‘Science has also been corrupted by commercial interests’

The two groups claimed: “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.”

But Tedstone stressed PHE advice was based on comprehensive research and untainted by commercial interests.

“Our independent experts review all the available evidence – often hundreds of scientific papers – run full-scale consultations and go to great lengths to ensure no bias when developing our scientific advice on nutrition,”​ said Tedstone.

“These recommendations are completely separate to the Eatwell model, which is a visual way of presenting the information. The refresh of the Eatwell model was conducted openly using robust scientific approaches. Advice was generated from an external reference group engaging interested stakeholders; including health, voluntary and industry representatives to ensure a wide range of views were considered.”


10-point advice from NOF and Public Health Collaboration

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

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