Why write a fat blog? Oct25

Why write a fat blog?...

A couple of years ago I wrote a book about my family’s history.  I had researched genealogy for over 30 years and although I had gathered a lot of information I found as I became older that it became increasingly difficult to instantly recall facts and figures.  I concluded that if I wrote a book I could put this data in one place, concise and easily accessible, in order to answer queries such as, was it John senior or junior who married Sarah?  It worked, I often refer to it answer questions both from other researchers and as an aide memoir for myself. So what has family history got to do with writing a fat blog?  Not much, but in a similar way I have, over the years, been informally researching health stories about obesity,  the diet and fitness industry and the inevitable government advice and policies.  This blog is an attempt to collate, sort and try to make some sense of what can seem conflicting advice and also help me to remember some of the key...

Confused? Oct26

Confused?

In the same week that cardiologist Aseem Malhotra questioned the orthodox advice given out by health agencies around the world that saturated fat in unprocessed food (NOT cake – maybe the BBC is sponsored by Mr Kipling)  is bad for us, it appears the backlash has begun.  I wonder if experts with opposing points of view offer themselves to news departments or because of the pressure for ‘balance’ journalists seek out contradictory opinions.  Either way how are we supposed to make any clear judgements when stories like this make authoritative statements such as The average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, while the average woman should eat no more than 20g. Most people eat about 20% more than the recommended levels – and a survey of 2,000 people for Sainsbury’s found 84% of those questioned did not know how much saturated fat was a healthy amount. The Department of Health said cutting the amount of saturated fat in people’s diets by 15% could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths every year from conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Apparently the food industry have pledged to lower the amount of saturated fat in the foods that they process.  Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health thinks that this is not going far enough and that they also need to lower the sugar and salt used to make foods more palatable after the fat has been removed.  The Great British Bake off is not going to be the same next year.  Just flour and a bit of polyunsaturated spread?  Yummy! But back to that last statement that cutting the amount of saturated fat in foods can save lives.  That’s not what the Sydney Diet Heart Study found.  This...

Saturated fat is not the major issue | BMJ Oct25

Saturated fat is not the major issue | BMJ...

It was heartening (!) that the demonisation of saturated fat was addressed this week in the mainstream media, thanks to Dr Aseem Malhotra’s article in the BMJ. Click here to view original web page at www.bmj.com He argument focussed on the now notorious and largely discredited study by Ancel Keys in 1970 which fuelled policy makers around the world to advise us to eat a low-fat/high carb diet.  Although, it is argued, that Keys cherry-picked data to fit his hypothesis his conclusion that linked high cholesterol and high saturated fat intake to increased levels of heart disease was eaten whole by government health departments.  However, Dr Malhotra points out, that as our consumption of fat has reduced, obesity rates have risen.   Food manufacturers have replaced fat for sugar and it is this that is driving the obesity ‘epidemic’ and the rise in cardiovascular disease. In 2006 the Vancouver Sun reported on a study undertaken of almost 1,000 Inuit in Northern Quebec which concluded that “The Inuit traditional diet offers natural protection against two of the planet’s biggest killers — heart disease and cancer — according to a study that gives an unprecedented glimpse of the health of northern Canadians.” Lead researcher Dr Eric Dewailly of Laval University said  “….. cardiovascular disease is also rare, likely because the Inuit diet remains rich in wild game. The traditional Inuit diet is fats and proteins, no sugar at all.  It is probably one of the healthiest diets you can have. The human body is built for that.” For anyone with a slightly more than cursory interest in the fat/carb debate none of this is new information but its difficult to break through the dogma that is almost engrained in our psyche that saturated fat is bad, hindered by the...