NICE – it’s sugar, not fat that’s the biggest problem

Yesterday’s report by NICE saying that junk food high in saturated and trans fat and salt is responsible for thousands of deaths fails to address the most important driver of chronic disease, namely high intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

While everyone agrees that damaged, processed trans fats are bad news fat per se is not the major problem with our modern day diets. In the July issue of my newsletter we examine the evidence in relation to fat. In relation to heart disease the evidence isn’t strong. In March there was a big meta-analysis that found: “There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” It’s very legit, being published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and big – involving 21 studies and nearly 350,000 patients.

Even though it’s assumed that eating less fat is the answer to losing weight America has reduced fat intake from 43% to 34% of calories with no significant change in rates of obesity. Saturated and trans fats, and sugar, are soft targets for the Food Standards Agency, now backed up by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, but sugar is the real villain. The trouble is tat the sugar lobby is very strong indeed. While there is no doubt that high intake of sugar and refined carbs fuels diabetes, heart disease, weight gain and the many conditions associated with obesity, as I explain in the Low GL Diet Bible, the sugar industry fight back at every level to stop this message getting across loud and clear. Also, the switch towards using corn derived fructose has made matters worse not better as this rapidly converts to fat and triggers metabolic syndrome, which is the underlying shift in metabolism that brings on the pattern of ‘western’ diseases. If the government, and its agencies really want to change health they are going to have to get really tough on sugar.

NICE want financial leverage on food companies. We are only going to see real change if junk food becomes more expensive and healthy food less expensive. Sugar, for example, could be taxed much like alcohol or cigarettes, and any food containing more than 10% of calories by flagged up as bad for you, which the FSA’s traffic light system is moving towards. Of course, the food industry will fight back and have accused NICE of meddling but since it is bad diet that is filling doctor’s surgeries trying to tackle the root causes should be welcomed. To find out the truth about fat read the July issue Newsletter, coming soon and available to members of my 100% Health Club. If you’re not yet a member find out how joining can benefit you and your health – click here.