‘The answer to health living is simply eating a balanced diet, accompanied by regular exercise’.
That was the message from Blackpool’s director of public health earlier today, after a charity warned low fat diets are having ‘disastrous health consequences’ – sparking widespread debate.
In its report, the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration call for a ‘major overhaul’ of current dietary guidelines.
They say the focus on low fat diets is failing to address Britain’s obesity crisis, while snacking between meals is making people fat.
Instead, they call for a return to ‘whole foods’ such as meat, fish and dairy, as well as high fat healthy foods including avocados, arguing that ‘eating fat does not make you fat’.
The report also argues that saturated fat does not cause heart disease while full fat diary - including milk, yoghurt and cheese - can actually protect the heart.
Processed foods labelled ‘low fat’, ‘lite’, ‘low cholesterol’ or ‘proven to lower cholesterol’ should be avoided at all costs and people with Type 2 diabetes should eat a fat-rich diet rather than one based on carbohydrates.
The report also said sugar should be avoided, people should stop counting calories and the idea that exercise can help you ‘outrun a bad diet’ is a myth.
However, Dr Arif Rajpura said: “All the different diets and health advice being banded around at the moment can get confusing for a lot of people. Put simply, the best way of living healthily is by eating a balanced diet, accompanied by regular exercise.
“The headlines about eating fats are slightly misleading and people should not use them as an excuse to raid the fridge. The research makes it clear that only healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados and eggs, are good for you and that they should be met by a dose of regular exercise too, from high intensity gym work to simply doing regular exercise like going for a daily walk.
“One thing the research does make very clear is the danger in eating too many refined sugars. We all know that these foods are bad for us and they are easier to cut out of your diet than you think, simply by looking at alternatives like swapping cans of pop for bottles of water, and changing microwaveable meals to quick and healthy homemade dinners.
“If people take anything from today’s news, it would be to ditch the ready meals and make something fresh and homemade for tea tonight.”
Some 83,000 adults in Blackpool are overweight – 72 per cent of the resort’s population, while one in three 11-year-olds are also overweight.