In a recent report by the National Obesity Forum, Dr Aseem Malhotra, a senior adviser stated that “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 used to be the case that in order to lose weight and be ‘healthy’, one needed to adopt a low fat diet. Such foods as cheese, red meat and eggs became off limits and were replaced with ‘low-fat’, ‘lite’ and ‘low cholesterol’ products. In turn, people would then consume high sugar snacks in between meals to curb their cravings, needing the extra calories they cut out at breakfast, lunch or dinner. This resulted in weight gain and inevitably, put strain on the heart.
It has now been revealed that people should be eating “whole foods”, such as avocados, nuts and fish. These foods and many others are high in fat, but not the kind that would be found in a doughnut or a scoop of ice cream – these foods contain high levels of non-saturated fat, which can lead to heart disease and obesity.
In addition, the National Obesity Forum report said sugar should be avoided, people should stop counting calories and the idea that exercise could help you “outrun a bad diet” was a myth. Instead, a diet low in refined carbohydrates but high in healthy fats was “an effective and safe approach for preventing weight gain and aiding weight loss”, and cuts the risk of heart disease, it said.
However since the report was published it has faced some criticism. For example, there can be the risk of having a diet too high in saturated fats, which increases the risk of raised cholesterol, a route to heart disease and possible death. Mike Knapton, associate director at the British Heart Foundation held the view that the “report is full of ideas and opinion however it does not offer the robust and comprehensive review of evidence”.