‘Irresponsible’ dietary guidance under flak

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Dietary guidance from National Obesity Forum is attacked

Related tags: Public health, Nutrition

A report from the National Obesity Forum (NOF) in association with Public Health Collaboration has come under flak from Public Health England (PHE), Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) for providing bad nutritional advice.

The NOF report calls for an urgent overhaul of current dietary guidelines, which it blames for driving up obesity and type 2 diabetes.

It directly contradicts widely accepted nutritional advice about people’s diets. It also makes the egregious assertion that: “Science has also been corrupted by commercial interests.”

However, PHE, FSS and BNF have come out with vigorous rebuttals of the report’s findings. PHE’s chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said: “In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible.”

Based on slim evidence

She claimed the NOF report’s findings were based on slim evidence and much opinion, which contrasted with the rigorous internationally accepted studies assessed by bodies, such as the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which are used to inform public health dietary advice.

Similarly, PHE’s Eatwell Guide has also been defended by both PHE and FSS, having come under attack by health campaigners.

FSS said consumers should use the guide to build a healthy diet, rather than rely on a range of studies that often say one thing one week, and the complete opposite the next.

The BNF stated: “The ideas put forward in this opinion piece are contrary to the advice of health organisations around the world.”

The serious consequence of this new report from health lobby groups is that consumers will have even more reason to doubt what scientists tell them in future.

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1 comment

Proponderance of Evidence

Posted by H.R. Hidell,

Having worked in the area of Metabolic Syndrome, I think the health professionals have understated and overstated certain basic approaches to solving obesity in general. There is no reasonable middle ground presented. The NOF report is an example of over reaching in conclusions to make perhaps a political point. But, the preponderance of evidence which is the massive increase in obese people clearly indicates the problem exists. In my opinion this is not just a dietary issue but involves numerous interrelated subjects including overall life style choices and a person's psychological state about their life in general. So, when we focus on diet as the only subject of debate we lose the depth of the whole which must be addressed. We need to take away a simple focus on diet which is in itself a big industry. Socio-economic issues are also a major cause of this obesity crisis.

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