Tag Archives: low-fat

Backlash after report claims saturated fats do not increase heart risk?

butterI remember the very first course I ran in 2003: a lady being openly criticised by her work colleagues for following my advice to snack on nuts instead of a 2-finger KitKat (as advocated by WW) and losing 11 lbs in 3 weeks – she showed them!!

But the serious point is we’ve been bucking the trend for 14 years because we bother to do our research, and then implement the findings of the best quality trials and studies without delay – to the benefit of our clients. Nothing that we teach or advise is anything odd, or made up for commercial purposes. We advised good fats and nuts in 2003. We talked about inflammation way before it was a trendy thing to do. We have said sugar and excessive carbs are a big problem for over 14 years. I’ve watched the mainstream advice slowly coming round to our way of nutritional thinking in recent years. While it’s great that they are finally catching up – because that means people are generally getting better advice – I can’t help but think of all the people who have been given the wrong advice for decades, and the effects that wrong advice will inevitably have had on the health of so many.

It’s with a level of sadness, therefore, that I read about this “backlash” today. Here in this article we can see the “establishment” putting up their barriers, and spinning their defence of old views.

When doctors and scientists speak out against the mainstream they surely know there will be a backlash. The precedence is there! In the 1970s John Rudkin published “Pure White and Deadly”. His message was clear. Sugar is the problem. The establishment denied this for 40 odd years, first having discredited Rudkin! We now know we’ve been let down by that same establishment. Doctor James Le Fanu pointed this out in no uncertain terms in his column in the Telegraph just a few days ago.

Putting their heads above the parapet invites castigation. Therefore, when highly qualified professionals speak out regardless, it’s time to listen.

The words that have sparked the controversy are innocent enough:

“[key previous research] showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”.

This message does not suggest we can eat saturated fats with impugnity. It does not suggest we advise people to eat a “high fat” diet. Yet the tone of its critics alludes to this.

So, the Rebalance advice on fats? NO trans or hydrogenated fats under any circumstances; saturated fats are nothing to worry about in moderation (we’re not advocating a “high fat” diet); watch your balance between anti-inflammatory omega-3 and pro-inflammatory omega-6 (many vegetable oils have the wrong balance – sunflower, rapeseed contain more omega 6 than 3); olive oil is good!

Diabetes soars by 60% in a decade? Here’s the answer!

60%The media this morning is full of the news that diabetes rates have soared by about 60% in the past decade. As a consequence it’s proposed NHS services will creak even more.

So it was with great disappointment that I came across an article from just 3 days ago. Just 3 days ago the NHS itself published an article about weight loss diets. It is a far from helpful article, giving no clear guidance to anyone wanting to lose weight, and continuing to promote low-fat diets. Any suggestion that low-fat might be the way to go for anyone
is absurd, but suggesting this might be a better option compared with low-carbs could just be catastrophic for people living with diabetes – either Type 1 or Type 2!

So here it is as simply as I can write it: THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE FITS ALL when it comes to diet and lifestyle.

As far as low-fat is concerned it’s way overdue that we should lay this myth to rest. Low-fat = more sugar. In 2011 the Harvard School for Public Health declared “It’s time to end the low-fat myth“, yet 4 years on our NHS still thinks there’s any room for debate? Have they not yet realised that 40 years of low-fat diets have largely contributed to our current situation? Ever increasing rates of obesity. Ever increasing rates of Type 2 diabetes. NHS resources stretched with no hope in sight.

As far as low-carb is concerned? It’s a meaningless generic term in my book. An appropriate level of carbs for me – sitting here writing for you – would be utterly inappropriate, and likely far too low, for anyone with a physical job. What would be appropriate for a person with a high level of daily physical activity would be way too many for me. I can feel my middle swelling just at the thought of it!

It’s time to get with the plot. Educate people to understand what is appropriate for their own unique circumstances and individual needs. Support them to get great results. Watch the health of the nation improve!

Why swapping low-fat for low-carb isn’t enough!

fatsWe’ve seen plenty of news articles recently that confirm low carb-diets are better for diabetes than low-fat. And I agree. BUT…

…that’s not the whole story. You’ve got to understand more about the nature of fats!

A bacon and egg fry-up might trump toast and marmalade in the blood-sugar stakes, and keep you feeling fuller for longer, but it also contains massively more calories. You see, just 1 gram of carb contains 4 calories of energy. 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories of energy too. 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy! That’s  more than twice the calories in fat compared with carbs or protein. And yet, I haven’t seen a single article warning readers of this fact.

Without considering portion sizes it will be so easy to take in huge amounts of calories.

Also, there isn’t enough being said about which fats are healthy and which are harmful. So I thought maybe it’s time to set the record straight here too…

Hydrogenated/trans fats are THE WORST! Artificial laboratory-made to turn an unsaturated oil into a saturated fat by adding hydrogen into the mix. It’s a way to make an oil into a solid, spreadable fat. But it’s also a fat that your body cannot process as nutrition. It’s a fat that is so toxic it will damage your liver, and will linger in your body for a long, long time. Give these fats a miss – never be tempted to use them. Remember, oils that are liquid at room temperature have to have been artificially processed to turn them into a ‘margarine’. Pure olive oil spreads, pure sunflower spreads, pure soya spreads all fall into this category.

butterSaturated fats can be processed by the body – and there’s increasing evidence that they are not harmful. Their reputation is certainly being redeemed right now. BUT, ‘not harmful’ is not exactly the same as ‘healthy’! That said, coconut oil is a saturated fat, and is also getting great press about health benefits too! Butter is once again the thing to spread on your bread – but watch out for those calories – it’s hard to stick to a light smear of butter. It tastes so good it’s too easy to slather on thickly!

Unsaturated fats have long been thought to be healthy. That’s only partly true! Omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids are definitely OK – both are associated with good heart health, and, on top of that, omega-3 is anti-inflammatory. Olive oil is high in these 2 omegas – that’s why it is still considered to be the healthiest oil! And of course it’s the key ingredient that makes the Mediterranean diet so beneficial!

But omega-6 – oh dear oh dear! Omega-6 is necessary. BUT omega-6 is inflammatory too!

Now, we do all need an inflammatory response – it could be a life-saver. But when we develop too much inflammation then real health problems occur. Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, cardio-vascular disease, stroke, arthritis, fibromyalgia, are all associated with high levels of inflammation. And high levels of omega-6 have now been shown to contribute to these conditions.

Before we used processed foods it’s thought we had a ratio of about 1:1 between omega-6 and omega-3 in our diets. But with processed foods our diets are way higher in inflammatory omega-6 than anti-inflammatory omega-3.  Research findings now suggest we should seriously limit the amount of omega-6 in our diets. Sunflower oil has about 26 times more omega-6 than omega-3 – definitely one to avoid! Rapeseed oil has been hailed for several years as the UK’s healthy equivalent to olive oil. Sorry folks, it’s just not true! Rapeseed has twice as much omega-6 compared with omega-3 and doesn’t begin to be the equivalent of olive oil at all.

The big downfall with olive oil, and other high omega-3 oils, is that they burn and become toxic at high temperatures, so be careful of heating them for roasting/frying. Best stick with butter or coconut oil for high temperature cooking (saturated fats are difficult to burn), and use olive oil for gentle cooking or for use cold.

Any questions? Please just ask!