Monday, 23 May 2016

Fat of the Land?


The National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration have called, in a report, for an end to the general UK advice to adopt a low fat diet if you want to lose weight (www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/22/official-advice-to-eat-low-fat-diet-is-wrong-says-health-charity). It is true that, gramme for gramme, fat contains more calories than carbohydrates but it is argued that diets high in sugars and starch stimulate the body to store more polysaccharides and are a bigger contributing factor to obesity. They also argue that some fats are beneficial and actually protect against conditions like heart disease (generated by atherosclerosis- plaque forming in the blood vessels). The trouble is that there are many different kinds of fats (saturated, unsaturated and trans fats) as well as 'good' and 'bad' forms of cholesterol (a steroid which is produced in the liver as well as being taken in via food). It may be quite difficult for people to 'take on board' the messages about fats (especially as the labelling of certain foods may not be clear). In general, plant (like olive oil) and fish (like cod liver oil) generated fats are healthier than mammal versions (like butter and lard). Losing weight does mean limiting calorie intake along with modifying what you eat. Getting people on to a Mediterranean diet might prove quite difficult.

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