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Criticism over Eatwell Plate amid calls for low carb approach

By Editor
15th April 2018
Type 2 diabetes, Type 2 prevention

The Eatwell Plate has been slammed in the European Parliament, with the concept of basing diets on starchy foods being branded “misguided”.

The guideline says meals should include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, with low or reduced-fat cheese and yoghurt and preferably unsaturated oils and spreads.

It was first published in 1983, with the latest version released by Public Health England and officially known as the Eatwell Guide. According to gov.uk, it is a “policy tool used to define government recommendations on eating healthily and achieving a balanced diet”.

But cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, the Queen’s former doctor Sir Richard Thompson and nutritionist Sarah Macklin, called for an overhaul of official guidelines, advocating a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean diet to help prevent type 2 diabetes during the debate about public health in Brussels.

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. A complete dietary guidelines overhaul would reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease and save billions every year.”

Sir Richard, a former  Royal College of Physicians president, added: “It’s more important to cut down on the calories in carbohydrates rather than the calories in fat, because it has caused a tsunami in diabetes. And we are all obsessed by sugar. We need to address this right now.”

However, Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England,  said: “High-fat diets are often high in calories and can lead to weight gain – this can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

“Too much saturated fat increases blood cholesterol, which also increases the risk of heart disease. “We recommend a balanced diet based on starchy high-fibre carbohydrates that are also low in saturated fats.”

The Low Carb Program developed by Diabetes.co.uk has been pivotal in making the case for a change in approach to dietary advice.

In just under two years, the Low Carb Program has a demonstrated cost saving of £835 per person, per year, for each person that completes the program through diabetes medication deprescription alone.

So far more than 270,000 have signed up and taken part in the initiative. Results show that people who complete the program reduce HbA1c by 1.2 per cent (13mmol/mol), lose seven per cent of their body weight on average and one in four people ‘reserved’ or put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

Comments (9)

  1. Andy King says:

    Hi George I’m just a lay person not an “expert” Before I started Keto I followed the eatwell guidance and had gradually put weight on over many years. Just like millions of others in the UK I assume the eatwell food guidance was supposed to make the UK population healthy. If that was not it’s objective I wonder what it was ? so how well has it been doing ? Obesity has rocketed with over 40% now clinically obese. T2D was rare 40 odd years ago today it is a man made!!! rampant world wide pandemic of illness I am sure you will agree losing weight is essential for millions For myself from the evidence of my own eyes and scales I was just about obese before I started the ketogenic lifestyle My stomach was so big certain parts of my body were invisible to me. When measuring just above my belly button It was 47 inches! My stomach had fat all over it Today 18 months later it is 36inches and I can now see the parts of my body I had missed for years Fluid ? nah it was fat Muscles Nah I excercised every day for at least 30minutes with my average heart rate above 70% of my age related heart rate before I started Keto I do the same now I found losing the weight so easy it wasn’t true as I never felt hungry Sugar in my non scientific opinion is the problem and sugar is hidden everywhere its in bread potatoes rice and pasta ( nah there is no sugar in them but loads of starch which is converted into sugar /ooops i meant glucose (which is one of 56 words to describe sugar ) In fact all carbs are sugar what I have learnt is that there are only three food types Protein fats and carbs One we dont need namely carbs Over to you

  2. Anita Contarini says:

    Fantastic work, keep doing it….
    Insulin is is an anabolik hormone- busy to give us more kilograms around every organ you can think of – it pushes glucose to cells as high levels of it in the blood are toxic.

    I always think – What would our species eat 100 000 ago?? And bread, crisps, chips, potatoe, overcooked veggies, naan, corn flakes, Mars bars would not be any of those things we would feed on. Possibly, the only grain we would eat, would be seeds of some grasses….

    I also do not understand why dietetics are so late with accepting that we are not getting fat because we eat fat, we get fat as we eat carbs. Just look at fat metabbolism…
    we are MADE of cholesterol starting with cell membranes and hormones!!
    And we declared war on fat??
    The body produces more cholesterol when in inflammatory stress, no wonder majority have higher levels- obesity causes low grade inflammatory response!

    Buon Appetite!

  3. George Politis says:

    @AndyKing
    Because, dear Andy, about 10% out of that 25% has been water, the other 10% has been muscle and maybe you lost about 5% fat if you were lucky. For better or worse, it doesn’t matter how you lose weight; if weight goes down blood glucose levels will go down. Especially if you have very little carbs.
    The problem is that when you have a fall 5-6 years down the line because of all the muscle you lost or if your kidneys pack up, nobody from all those people that have been advocating low carb diets is gonna be there to hold your hand while you are having your dialysis.
    The idea is that you don’t create 2 problems in your effort to cure one. Low carb diets have not proven to be more effective than a balanced approach, they have not been tested for long term adverse effects, nobody has produced results on % fat or lean muscle loss, they have a much lower percentage of adherence, they cannot be maintained for a long time and, as every person that has tried them again and again can attest, the moment you try to add a little bit of carb you gain as much weight as you lost right back, if not more. Which is to be expected because after losing all this muscle your metabolic rate goes right down. Problem is now, all the weight you put back on is fat; not muscle. So you end up with more fat, less muscle and a lower metabolic rate.
    The brain alone needs 120gr of carbs a day. Add to that the kidneys and red blood cells that cannot use anything other than carbs for energy. You would think that the only fuel that every single cell in the body can use and for some cells, it is the only fuel they can use, shouldn’t be unhealthy.
    Everybody is a nutrition specialist these days quoting this research or the other. There is enough research to prove anything you want nowadays, especially when it comes to nutrition. That’s why a textbook is a marvellous thing. I wonder how many of those so called specialists remember their biochemistry or physiology.
    Take it from a person with clinical experience people. A person that has treated thousands of patients. It’s not the carbs that is the problem; it’s the fat that comes with the carbs.

    Hope this helps

    Thanks
    George Politis
    Diabetes specialist dietitian

  4. Andy King says:

    so why have I at the age of 71 been able to lose 25% of my bodyweight, come off all medication feel stronger and fitter than I have in years been congratulated by my GP on my weight loss over the last 14 months having fully adopted a Low carb High Fat lifestyle ?? If her advice was correct I would have put weight on !!! This is an accurate anecdotal account not a “scientific ” one so I would love her to publish her “scientific ” justification for stating a high fat diet can lead to weight gain ? cos it could happen if I had eaten the very thing that contributes to causing obesity and the ONLY MAN MADE would wide pandemic of T 2 Diabetes namely Carbohydrates ( which should be called Sugar IMHO )

  5. Andy King says:

    Dr Tedstone says “High-fat diets are often high in calories and can lead to weight gain – this can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

    so why have I at the age of 71 been able to lose 25% of my bodyweight, come off all medication feel stronger and fitter than I have in years been congratulated by my GP on my weight loss over the last 14 months having fully adopted a Low carb High Fat lifestyle ?? If her advice was correct I would have put weight on !!! This is an accurate anecdotal account not a “scientific ” one so I would love her to publish her “scientific ” justification for stating a high fat diet can lead to weight gain ? cos it could happen if I had eaten the very thing that contributes to causing obesity and the ONLY MAN MADE would wide pandemic of T 2 Diabetes namely Carbohydrates ( which should be called Sugar IMHO )

  6. elaine rogerson says:

    Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, really should look at the science and results of LCHF and the Mediterranean diet, that both have far better health outcomes than the governments “Eat Well” guide. In fact there is so much good research out there (some of it buried because it doesn’t support the “heart health hypothesis” that’s been force fed to us since the seventies and eighties) that I am shocked that the Eat Well guide is still supported.

  7. Brad Schultz says:

    Cutting carbs is just small part of the picture. We must do everything in our power to combat and mediate the onset and management of this disease. I have found the Eastern Internal arts offers time-proven wisdom on how we can improve our health and energy in naturally effective ways. This way we can be in charge of our own health, and without the negative side-effects. I think we can learn techniques and principles to start to take charge of our own health. I’ve found some good holistic tips and techniques from the eastern arts here https://abundantpeace_b0cb.gr8.com/

  8. Peter Palmer says:

    How on earth can somebody in such an influential role as Dr Alison Tedstone be so out of touch with modern scientific thinking.
    Has she read anything in the past forty years that provides evidence to support her assertion that “Too much saturated fat increases blood cholesterol, which also increases the risk of heart disease. “We recommend a balanced diet based on starchy high-fibre carbohydrates that are also low in saturated fats.”
    Dr Zoe Harcombe rather debunked the “evidence” for this with her meta analysis of the trials.
    There is no evidence that saturated fat or cholesterol cause increased ACM (all cause mortality)
    If Dr Tedstone were right surely obesity and T2DM would be falling. They are not; quite the opposite is the case.
    Or is she accusing T2DMs of gluttony and sloth?
    The real enemy is carbohydrates, as Dr Malhotra, Sir Richard, Prof. Tim Noakes and many others have pointed out.
    T2DM cannot exist without carbs. Cut the carbs (and increase the fat to enable using ketones for energy) and you cut obesity and the incidence of T2DM. Make those cuts and the NHS saves up to £10 billion a year, the cost of treating diabetes.
    Can we please have a “Health Service” rather than a “Treatment Service”?

  9. Aidan Ward says:

    Here we go again with PHE coming out with platitudes that show how far they are adrift from what works.
    Weight gain per se does not lead to any of those things and calories are not the issue in weight gain. This is a metabolic syndrome and it driven by hormones. The dietary advice is simply wrong and the effects of that advice are to lead to early deaths of thousands of people.
    I am T2D and I have used a keto diet to correct that and other health problems. Having gained weight very very gradually for 25 years, my weight is now falling away while I eat butter, olive oil, coconut oil, fatty meat, in quantities to give Alison Tedstone a heart attack just watching!
    I am researching how to complain about the seriously bad official advice I have had and the sheer ignorance of the GPs I have had to deal with. I would love advice about how to complain effectively.

    At the very, tiniest minimum, people should be offered support while they try a low carb or keto diet. More powerful medicine that any of the pharma products – seriously.

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