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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 (3)

  1. Brad Schultz says:

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  2. 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”?

  3. 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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