Healthy Eating
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UK's obesity crisis BLAMED on NHS advice: Rules on eating Carbs are harmful, say experts

I agree!!

'A trio of leading medics said guidelines that made bread, pasta and potatoes the base of the nation’s diet have had disastrous consequences for millions and created a time bomb for the NHS.

They have called for an urgent review of dietary advice which was drawn up 35 years ago. Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, the Queen’s former doctor Sir Richard Thompson and nutritionist Sarah Macklin, said NHS instructions should be ignored in favour of a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean diet to beat diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Dr Malhotra said: “If all UK diabetics were to follow guidelines reflecting the independent scientific evidence and ignore current low-fat diet government guidelines, it would reduce dependency on diabetes drugs and insulin by over 50 per cent, saving the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds annually.

“Basing diets on starchy foods is misguided and in my view, has been a direct cause of the obesity crisis.

“For decades, fat has been demonised and led to a huge market in low-fat products, a problem made worse by commercial influence.'

express.co.uk/life-style/he...

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Hi Dottie,

This is interesting and I agree that things have to change, another problem with our diets is cultural dishes that are nothing like a Mediterranean diet eg: bangers and mash, fish n' chips, (chips with anything LOL) full English breakfast, pie and mash, pizza and chips/French fries followed by fizzy drinks with nine plus tea spoons of sugar...And look at our obsession with take ways this is all part of what we should be addressing.

The UK is the largest consumer of breakfast cereals per head per capita in the world, so may be we should be looking at much more varied/interesting food choices too.

My opinion is that we as a society need to change our attitude/relationship with food and learn to take responsibility for what we are really eating rather looking at a pretty picture on some packaging and have that with a low cal fizzy drink and still not realise that we are still being duped by slick advertising...😊

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I agree, I found this link giving the breakdown in calories in chips:

weightlossresources.co.uk/c...

It's about half from carbs and half from fat, and yet many people would think of it as a "carb" and blame the potato rather than the oil when they put on weight.

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um .... yes, that's because it IS the potato causing the weight gain, and not the oil.

You must surely have noticed that people who eat low-fat oven chips, "air fried" chips, mashed potato etc etc still get fat and ill. Most people do actually adhere to low-fat guidelines: consumption of saturated fat has decreased drastically since 1950:

nutritionbynature.com.au/up...

Possibly of interest:

healthline.com/nutrition/6-...

There doesn't seem to be any obvious reason why unsaturated fats (we're eating a lot more of them than we used to) should make people fat, but they do seem to be associated with other problems.

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Umm, nope. It's the calories that make you fat regardless of the source.

If someone consumes more energy than their body requires the excess is in danger of getting stored as fat, conversely if they consume less they will loss weight regardless of what they cut out.

I seriously doubt that many people actually adhere to the current guidelines - sure they may be vaguely aware of the guideline to reduce fat and so choose low fat milk at the supermarket but overall they are still eating too many calorie dense foods.

I also doubt that many of the people who eat oven chips don't also eat pizza (refined carbs and fat) breakfast cerial (refined carbs and sugar), chocolate bars (sugar and fat), meat (fat and protein), cheese (fat and protein).

Remember that the nhs guidelines for healthy eating don't just talk about reducing fat they talk about what you should be eating.

How many people do you know who actually follow the advice and base their diet around unrefined plant sourced starches, lots of non starchy vegetables and fruit and get fat? Not many I reckon

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>> It's the calories that make you fat regardless of the source.

And why do you think this is true?

If you're interested in a scientific demonstration, try eating a low-fat high-carb diet with a 5% calorie deficit (use the NHS calorie calculator or something similar) for six months, and measure your before-and-after weight. Then try the same thing with a low-carb high-fat diet, with the same calorie deficit.

If you can't be bothered to wait, the experiment has already been done on thousands of people, and what happens is this:

- In the latter case: you will lose weight. Maybe a little, maybe a lot, but you will lose weight, and it will be 70-80% bodyfat.

- In the former case, the outcome depends on your ability to handle carbohydrates, which is a function of genetics and upbringing. Most likely (50%) your weight will stay exactly the same, as will your bodyfat partitioning. There's a small probability you'll lose weight, and a smaller probability that you'll gain weight.

These results are completely reproducible. Do you believe these experiments are all rigged, or is there some other explanation?

If you want a more in-your-face demonstration, have a look at the NHS thread, where almost every single person is posting a question along the lines of "I'm eating the right calories but I'm not losing weight, what am I doing wrong?".

>> I seriously doubt ...

You can doubt what you like, but governments keep stats on this. They're really, really keen to make sure people follow the guidelines. And they really do. True, the people who subsist on pizzas and chocolate bars are obese. But everyone else - the people buying low-fat milk and Weightwatchers meals - is chubby.

I bet you'd feel guilty if someone put a Full English in front of you, wouldn't you? You wouldn't be able to eat it without imagining your arteries furring up, right? That's how pervasive the guidelines are.

>> How many people do you know who actually follow the advice and base their diet around unrefined plant sourced starches, lots of non starchy vegetables and fruit and get fat?

Well, me for a start. I used to follow the guidelines to the letter. I've been a 'healthy eating' nerd since I was a teenager. It never occurred to me that the government might be wrong, so there I was eating my low-fat, "whole foods" diet, cranking away on the CV machines in my "fat burning zone", and wondering why I still had a massive spare tyre.

Anyway, that is NOT the advice. The NHS advice states, and I quote:

"Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over one third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals."

Nowhere does it mention eating lots of non-starchy vegetables. In fact it explicitly states that you'll get ill if you don't get lots of carbohydrates.

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Without meaning to offend at all, but you commented that you baked your own bread and even freezed them to store, right? So you clearly consume wheat-products/high carbs, so how could your diet be LCHF? How much fat per day? It sounds more like a fairly average "balanced" diet, nothing extreme, not even low Carb. When people post, labelling their diet, that's only what it says on the book cover. Someone's LC can be someone else's HC. Why there's a need for LC or HC over this site, I wonder?

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Hidden . Yes, I bake bread .. about once a year, because it's fun. I freeze it because I bake one loaf, and I'll eat maybe one slice a week :)

I occasionally eat either flour tortillas or crackers with cheese. What I don't eat is the recommended "one third" of my meal as carbs. Not even close. Possibly one-tenth. However that's on the average. Maybe once a month I eat a "high carb" meal - pizza, curry, burger etc.

Just to be clear, I'm not one of those fanatics who goes around screaming that carbs are poison and you're all going to die. Carbs have their place. I posted elsewhere that carbs are probably "intended" to be eaten cyclically, during certain seasons.

I'm only pointing out that eating the government-standard carbs-at-every-meal will cause you to retain bodyfat. As you get older it will also drive you to eat excessively, ie., you'll get fat. And if you're really unlucky you'll get diabetes.

These risks have been carefully quantified and the biochemistry is well-understood.

>> Are you essentially saying, that the government is probably supporting the food industry to churn out more diabetics/morbidly obese patients?

Well, that's the question, isn't it? As I said elsewhere, there are really only three possibilities:

- gross incompetence

- wilful ignorance

- deliberate collusion

Or possibly a combination of all three.

Have you heard of Dr Gary Fettke? He was a NZ surgeon who told his diabetic patients - they were coming to him for amputations - to stop eating stodge and eat meat and vegetables instead. For that, he was publicly humiliated and struck off. The logic was that, basically, he's just a glorified butcher and doesn't know enough about diabetes to hand out that advice. Apart from being a back-handed indictment of NZ medical training (or at least it would be if it were true) it ignored the fact that his amputee patients were showing improvement in their condition, instead of coming back for more amputations.

Anyway, it's very interesting to speculate on WHY this is happening. My theory is that it's a sort of mass hysteria, of the sort that precipitates financial crises or witch-hunting.

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Thank you for your fabulous reply. I'm sure other posters are also fascinated by your post. :)

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"Nowhere does it mention eating lots of non-starchy vegetables. In fact it explicitly states that you'll get ill if you don't get lots of carbohydrates."

Are you essentially saying, that the government is probably supporting the food industry to churn out more diabetics/morbidly obese patients? I have some acquaintances, who are morbidly obese. Sad thing is that they all keep saying, "oh I have to lose some weight, oh I have to lose more, but when I came back to the UK from a nice holiday in Asia, I got fat again". I often feel that this is more cultural, rather than PURELY "nutritional".

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>> And why do you think this is true?

Because of studies like this:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/126...

"Among the published studies, participant weight loss while using low-carbohydrate diets was principally associated with decreased caloric intake and increased diet duration but not with reduced carbohydrate content."

>> These results are completely reproducible. Do you believe these experiments are all rigged, or is there some other explanation?

Unless you give some references for your claims it's hard to tell

>> You can doubt what you like, but governments keep stats on this. They're really, really keen to make sure people follow the guidelines. And they really do.

Is this something you just made up, or do you have any evidence for it?

>> "Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over one third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals."

Sounds like good advice to me - note that it also says "Choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions with less added fat, salt, sugar".

About a third of the NHS eatwell plate is given over to fruit and vegetables with the tagline "Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day", looking at the picture i can see what looks like red onion, aubergine, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, cucumber - all non starchy vegetables.

>> Well, me for a start. I used to follow the guidelines to the letter.

I'm glad you've found a way of eating that meets your health aims, but I'm sure you're aware that from a scientific point of view, you are reporting an uncontrolled experiment with a sample size of one, so impossible to draw any wider conclusions from it.

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>> Because of studies like this

That's a meta-analysis, not a study.

"There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations for or against the use of low-carbohydrate diets."

In other words it was a bit of a waste of time and money. Go and sit at the back of the class and do it again. B+ for effort though.

>> Unless you give some references for your claims it's hard to tell

Fair enough. Focusing specifically on the the effects on appetite (ie., the reason high-carb makes you overeat):

mdpi.com/1660-4601/9/5/1663...

On long-term results of low-carb diets compared to high-fat:

onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi...

and on CVD:

mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/9/5377...

Now, you might fairly accuse me of cherry-picking here, although I simply clicked on the top google results (I didn't discard any papers that didn't support my views). If you think I have cherry-picked, then you need to find the holes in these studies.

>> Sounds like good advice to me - note that it also says "Choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions with less added fat, salt, sugar".

Why is it good advice? Given that the body's requirement for carbs is precisely ZERO, where did this one-third figure come from? Why is it not one-tenth? Or three-quarters?

The biggest source of cognitive dissonance for me is this: why tell people to reduce sugar while telling them in the same breath to eat lots of carbs? THEY ARE THE SAME THING, as far as your body is concerned. Eating whole-grain as opposed to sliced white makes a small difference to rate of absorption, but not a lot. And if "a calorie is a calorie", then why is it not OK to put 10g of sugar on 100g of porridge? In fact, why is it not OK to replace the potatoes on my plate with an equivalent caloric quantity of jelly babies?

>> I'm sure you're aware that from a scientific point of view, you are reporting an uncontrolled experiment with a sample size of one, so impossible to draw any wider conclusions from it.

Nevertheless, the science must explain the observation, and the "calories in calories out" hypothesis CANNOT explain it. Besides, I'm not the only person on the planet who has had this experience: a bit of googling with throw up a million others. That million-strong population represents data that must be explained. If the theory cannot explain it then the theory is wrong, or at best incomplete.

Incidentally, the experiment was not 'uncontrolled' as such. The control scenario was me on the British Standard Diet.

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ok so theres a difference in calories, but potatos do not make you fat. you make yourself fat.

i eat potatos most days and i am not fat.

chips, mashed made with milk and butter, roasted, baked whole.

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>> i eat potatos most days and i am not fat.

Not yet, maybe. How old are you? What's your bodyfat percentage? Men look fat when they hit 25%+, women at about 30%.

I've noticed that 80% of British people in the 45-65 age group are carrying a lot of flab. They might not be heavy, but I'd say their BF% is excessive. This document seems to confirm my casual observation (although this references obese people, not people who are merely overweight).

digital.nhs.uk/media/30781/...

In other words, fat creeps up on you. When you're 30 you can tell yourself, heh, I'm not fat, just a bit chubby. Then suddenly you're 50 and ... oh, you're fat. How did that happen?

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Actually, I must confess, I do also eat potatoes most days too! :) BUT, my partner and I only eat a very small amount with our dinner (And sometimes a little bit for lunch and breakfast, though my partner often does a 24 hour fast, so doesn't eat lunch or breakfast most days!) and the majority of our meal will be protein and fat and I am very slim, in my mid 40s and my partner is in his early 50s. But we are very active and carbs only make up a small percentage of our food intake, although, I must confess I do eat more carbs than my partner, only because I get too thin if I cut them down too much! I don't know how to get round this, because I really would prefer to eat as little carb as poss like my partner does, but I really don't want to get any thinner! :(

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There's an awful lot of subtlety in the whole carbs-vs-fat argument that I think goes completely over the heads of politicians (and some doctors too for that matter). It seems to me there is a hard threshold for carbs. Each person has a different threshold, and that threshold can vary over time. It's a hard threshold because that's how ANY closed-loop control system fails when its actuator (in this case insulin) can't correct the input disturbance. Below that threshold your body will find something useful to do with the carbs you throw at it; above that threshold, it will start recalibrating its loop parameters until they too hit the limits. That's when you get runaway obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease and diabetes.

Doctors get confused by this sort of thing because they like to see dose-response relationships, eg., if you eat twice as many potatoes you get fat twice as fast. I'm pretty certain dynamic systems theory isn't taught at medical school, which is a crying shame. Even so, they should be familiar with the idea: for example blood pH is buffered to about pH7.4, but if enough acidic molecules are dumped into the bloodstream by some pathological process, the buffering action eventually fails catastrophically.

TL;DR: you're probably not eating enough potatoes to actually matter, especially given your active lifestyle. Same applies to Hidden.

Again, I think the politicians can't get their heads around the idea of exercise modifying your metabolism (rather than the simplistic "burning calories"). Yes, of course exercise does burn calories, but the crucial point is that you muscles become an efficient glucose dump (ie., they can store it as glycogen). So when you do eat a carb-heavy meal, your body has one more option for disposing of it. Contrast that with the couch-surfer, whose muscles are wasted and most likely insulin-resistant; there's nowhere else for surplus glucose to go except into bodyfat, and if fat cells are also insulin-resistant, it starts piling up in your liver or other places where it shouldn't be.

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I don't do well with HC. Not sure what Jerry says. Fruits are also HC despite its HF content., but still HC with Dreaded fructose, which turned out to be irritant. I abandoned gluten many years ago, then and all nuts except walnuts occasionally, Fat in nuts can also go rancid in store and my skin knows best. I don't do well with soya as it's anti-thyroid, root veggies make me feel groggy, wakes me up in the middle of the night with the discomfort. Brassica is goitrogenic. So I avoid that, too.

So my diet has to be simple vegetarian diet, either ovo or pescetarian, with occasional treats e.g. Poultry or meat. It's the gut that decides, not what politicians say. The last people I would bother trusting!

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i am in my late 60s and up to the age of 64 i have never even looked chubby let alone fat.

i did put on some weight but i have since lost it.

i do eat and drink anything, and i am as active as i have always been..nearly!

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Yes. Portion control is just as important . Counting calories for me means I can eat what I like whilst knowing that a simple calorie in/energy out equation will eventually work. Whilst eating a balanced diet as much as I can ,I have to keep some 'bad' habits or my weightloss programme will fail.No doubt .There is no one-rule for anyone .Weightgain is far more complex than even any doctors and experts know right now .My obesity has been a life-long battle, not just simply later-onset weight-gain from one food-type. I am an addict . I have demons to battle .I have to battle them my way . At the moment I am in control . For now .

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thank you so much for your reply. i know from experience from seeing 3 of my sister's suffering physically and emotionally from been very over weight how it must be like for you.

then there's me!! one addiction after another. part of my life i had 5 at the same time, i can name for you if you want. and i still got up for work..that fed my addictions so i was addictived to that too.

enough of me but to say i have been in control for a long time now and it feels good.

i do have a young son that i am worried about, so your posts has made me think a lot more about him.

thanks.

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Thank you thank you. This is a brilliant response, and you wrote it much better than I could.

The whole 'you eat more calories than you burn makes you fat" thing is part of the same misguided advice that this article is talking about. Like, "eat a healthy balanced diet" and "eat less, move more". What does balanced actually mean? Eat less of what?

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Sorry, I know it's an old thread but I haven't been on here for a while. Are you suggesting that 300 calories of mars bar will have the same effect on the body as 300 calories of avocado?

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cant track down exactly how much calories there is in a 100 grams of potatos. i have look on the net and read different amount on different sites

is it much more then other veg?

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I find the best place to start is the USDA database, most other sites get their information from there - here is the entry for raw potato (77 kcal per 100g)

ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/...

for comparison another starchy vegetable, sweet potato is 86kcal, and a non starchy one, green sweet peppers are 20kcal (they have more calories when red!)

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i have also read 77 calories in a just boiled potato and about a 150 in home made chips.

i think its ok to eat potato, but its just like everything dont eat to much.

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It's interesting.

I would have thought that the USA would be the top in terms of breakfast cereal consumption. Super-size food portion is quite astounding.

I often think there's a lot to do with cultural "preferences". If one goes abroad on a holiday, one often gets so shocked by the slimmer size in women and men. In other cultures, being in a slim size symbolises intellect and self-control. In the UK or probably in the US, someone who has a fuller figure/possibly larger hip/large build/prominent chest means she/he probably got far more wealth and therefore, more attractive/desirable whilst these people could simply be seen as "a little overweight" in other developed countries. In the UK, I doubt you get much social pressure/incentive to slim down. In some developed cultures, you have far more exciting, but holistic food choice to keep yourself slim and keep it there. If you try to stay slim in the UK, you need to be very creative/motivated/extra imaginative as supermarket's food choice is limited.

Friends from abroad commented that there's nothing to buy in UK supermarkets. They did like upmarket supermarkets "W". They thought it's worth visiting W but not others.

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There’s a lot of social pressure on people who are over weight in the UK, “fat shaming” seems to be a national sport in some areas. The lack of food education and the availability of cheap, unhealthy, addictive food is fuelling the health crisis

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You are right about the effect of social and cultural pressures and about the status signalling therein.

But in the UK the current pressure is definitely to be thin rather than fat.

Say 150 years ago, when food was much more expensive and starvation still a very real possibility for many people, being fat signalled that you were wealthy and successful enough to afford to eat lots of expensive food.

Now that calorie dense food is readily and cheaply available everyone can afford to be fat, so now status signalling is done by being fit and lean.

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Well, some other countries are a lot worse than here.

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True - but the UK is pretty bad

nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/...

"The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, the 2013 report says."

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If you look at worldwide eating disorder distribution, it occurs where being thin is so important. Intense scrutiny on your weight. Not so much in the UK, as far as I am aware. Being thin is probably seen as negative, unhealthy etc.

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By eating disorder you mean things like bulimia and anorexia? I had a quick look on the WHO website to see if they had any details on it's distribution but without any success. It would be interesting to find out, I'm probably naive in thinking it's correlated with obesity.

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i dont think you guys know what a mediterranean diet is, so i will tell you.

meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, dairy, nuts, wine, and take a look in any Italian or other mediterranean deli.

there only one reason that people are getting fat and thats becouse they eat to much.

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The article seems to misrepresent the mediterranean diet which is actually based on starches and limits meat

mayoclinic.org/healthy-life...

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Perhaps the Med diet varies somewhat from area to area?

We’ve visited France for many years and encountered very little in the way of whole grains, bread seems to be mostly white. Meat consumption seems to vary according to the affluence of the area, more money = more meat. Dairy was rarely low fat and people traditionally cooked some meals in duck fat. The varieties of fresh veg and fruit are certainly plentiful and the French appear to be prepared to pay for quality.

We have noticed, with some alarm, the rise in availability of supermarket highly processed foods, and the loss of traditional markets.

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I agree, it definitely does vary from place to place and as you point out over time too.

I think there really are two terms here - there is the mediterranean diet in the sense of being what the people in the area actually eat with all the changes and diversity within that and "The Mediterranean Diet" which is a phrase used within the health community which whilst not totally defined refers to a set of features of these diets that researchers from around 1970 started suggesting had health benefits.

So it's quite possible that in 50 years time the mediterranean diet is no longer the "Mediterranean Diet" :)

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We’ve been travelling to parts of Europe for 50+ years and the food doesn’t seem to have changed much! Not sure if this will survive another 50, seeing the gradual creep of things like McD across the country.

Many French and Italians still follow traditional ways of cooking and eating, there isn’t as much processed food as in the UK, but the increase in tourism has altered meals. Poverty in Southern Europe has also adversely affected what people eat.

If the definitive Med diet is based on the food pre 1970, it certainly didn’t include low fat dairy. Skimmed milk is the kind of food you would feed to your pig, not to your family.

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Wouldn't it be lovely to see NHS costs plummet, as indeed they should. For so long the pervasive tentacles of the food industry have stymied government thinking on health policy. To see 50% reduction in people suffering diabetes would be totally amazing. As I posted a day or so ago our homes are full of a dependency on body-bloating refined carbs. Get rid of these refined carbs, say I. They should be outlawed, or at the very least taxed.

And then when we get to potatoes they are mostly boiled and mashed with dairy, roasted in oil, or deep fried (and sometimes even triple fried)! The cheapest (large white) potatoes have been selectively bred to remove the goodness from them in favour of shelf-life etc. And if we bake them then the browned skins might become carcinogenic, and then most people put lashings of butter inside them & cheese on top.

Our government has been following a steady race to the bottom. How cheap can we get food, and so long as the health consequences don't affect this 5 year term, who cares! Of course with that cheapness come long term health risks across the board for the entire population.

Of course what would be even more amazing is to stop people getting diabetes in the first place. For that you need to follow my recommended diet/lifestyle.

Whatever, thank you Dottie for posting this.

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Again, there's no incentive for avoiding diabetes. Diabetics get free prescriptions regardless of their ability to pay, even if they are a millionaire, he/she wouldn't be paying. Maybe, the state knows they are guilty.

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A lot of very mixed views and replys. and what have i got to take home with me. "nothing"

if you just looked at food for a normal person like me who does not have any disoders to any foods, and that encludes mental ones, then whats the problem?

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Yes. Good discussion. But there are certain scientific facts.

1) Carbs are just an energy source and not essential for the existence. Though they provide fibers that move intestines and some vitamins.

2) Carbs are responsible for inflammatory processes in our body. A healthy person also should limit carb / complex intake and avoid simple sugars to avoid catastrophic mishaps. A healthy person should restrict carbs intake to 150 g of complex carbs per day. Sugar is plain energy and no nutrition.

3) As said in the video veg oils are high in omega 6 which is an inflammatory agent. Better avoided.

4) Carbs are converted into fat in the presence of insulin. And carbs cause higher insulin response. Fats from the body will not dissolve in the presence of insulin.

5) To lose weight, there should be calorie restriction. As much as 30%.

6) There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are coconut oil, vco, evoo, ghee, palm kernel oil, mct, avocado, avocado oil etc. Fats elicit minimum insulin response. This causes fats in our body to dissolve / lipolysis.

7) High carbs and high fat is a deadly combo because it's high calorie and insulinogenic.

Please refer to the following links.

nutritionadvance.com/health...

healthline.com/nutrition/11...

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Some of the statements are quite debatable or not quite true, not that I mean to offend anybody. There's nothing black & white about eating food. Omega 6 can be bad if you overeat or keep consuming it repeatedly daily, but if you balance it with Omega 3, then no harm in it. My point is, best to not to rely on a couple of secondary sources as a source of reliable information. Again, the key is, eat a varied, balanced diet. It won't go wrong. "Good food" can also be bad if you consume it too much.

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Yes. 6:3 should be 4-10:1. But as the link suggests it's very high in veg oils. One may or may not accept the view. Balance diet yes. What i wrote is various styles of eating food. Not suggesting that one should go for zero carb diet. Just saying not bad if someone adapts to that diet.

Well, let me understand where i'm wrong or not true. "Some of the statements are quite debatable or not quite true, " i'd like to know them. Although I have posted links in the comment(s) as a way of support, let me improve my knowledge wherever I'm wrong.

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When I first found out that my father had diabetes t2, I told him he needed to swap his usual low fat highly processed foods for more eggs, fish and vegetables. I gave him lots of easy meal suggestions too. But every time I visited him I would find them eating and buying the same old rubbish and his health was getting worse and worse. The number of prescription medicines he was on also kept increasing. My words seemed to have zero effect. I think this is the problem. Every time my father went shopping or turned on the tv, he would be bombarded with adverts for low fat processed food and advice to eat lots of 'healthy' carbs. It just seemed too difficult for him to think in any other way and as he got weaker health wise, making any effort to change became even more difficult. I think many people assume that if something is for sale in the supermarket, it must be OK to eat otherwise the government would stop it being sold. Years and years of being told to eat low fat foods also has an effect. It's going to take time for people to change their ways of eating, and time for the big food companies to lose their death grip on people's minds, but in the meantime lots of people are going to get unnecessarily ill and that's a really dreadful state of affairs.

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I’m not sure that suggesting a Mediterranean diet is going to be very helpful to many people on limited income. It seems a bit like “let them eat cake”.

One possible useful import from France might be the frequent TV adverts reminding people to eat 5 a day, not to snack between meals etc. Their government is very keen on trying to keep people healthy. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to apply over here.

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Being told you MUST eat 3 meals a day is bad. As well as snacking in between.

Being told you MUST eat breakfast is bad.

Being told to eat a "healthy balanced diet" is confusing. Balanced how? Healthy? low-fat-high-carb is not healthy.

"Eat less, move more" is a ridiculous thing to say to someone. Eat less of what? What if I'm already on one meal a day?

Move more? What happens when you exercise? You get hungry afterwards. Then what? You want to eat when you're hungry.

And as for the NHS! I'm a T1D and in my hospital's diabetic ward there is the classic food pyramid encouraging us to eat bread, grain, pasta, spuds, etc. These are the very food that requires diabetics to take insulin. Perpetuating the cycle of high blood sugars and medication to counter it. I've had some heated discussions about this with my specialist.

I try to eat a ketogenic diet every day. I never have breakfast, as we should eat when we're hungry, not when some arbitrary guideline tells us too. Cutting the carbs is the only true way I can keep my blood sugar under control, lose weight and live to a ripe old age with my lady!!

Want to know how we got into this mess of obesity and diabetes in the first place? Read:

"Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes

or

"Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet" by Nina Teicholz

You will be disgusted by the way science has been perverted and how for the last 4 decades our guidelines are based on a hypothesis and not on actual scientific fact.

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Excellent reply Coyley!! ;)

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