Its not often that I get excited by something happening in the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament but I did today!
The Daily Telegraph reports that Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital in London, has been speaking about the obesity calamity in the UK and has warned that advice to avoid fat was ‘false and misleading’ and was fuelling the obesity epidemic.
(the Telegraph only lets you read a limited number of articles a week)
He makes the point, that I make to my clients all the time, that when farmers want to fatten animals, they feed them carbohydrate. They do not feed them fat. As a small boy, I used to go on holiday to France. In those days they still put pictures of farmers force feeding geese with a funnel to make the delicacy fois gras (fat liver) on postcards. Its pretty grotesque and a very odd thing to put on a postcard. Anyway, the idea is to hugely over-fatten the animal and in particular its liver, and the liver is then very soft like pate. The food they use to accomplish this massive over-fattening? Corn. I see people eating popped corn as a “healthy” alternative to crisps and wonder how their liver is faring under the onslaught.
As the noble Lord points out, fat has other functions in the diet apart from providing energy. It slows down digestion and by encouraging leptin release it regulates the appetite. I suspect that fat also has a role in governing our mood as years ago, when I was trying to lose weight on a ridiculous low fat diet, I was as miserable as sin.
I feel the case against the current dietary guidelines is gaining momentum. After 40 years of making us fatter and sicker it is time for them to be thrown in the bin and for the establishment that has peddled the myths to apologise.