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Public Health England: Advice to eat more fat 'irresponsible'

Advice to eat more fat is irresponsible and potentially deadly, Public Health England's chief nutritionist has said.

Dr Alison Tedstone was responding to a report by the National Obesity Forum, which suggests eating fat could help cut obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to BBC.

The charity said promoting low-fat food had had "disastrous health consequences" and should be reversed.

Other experts have also criticised the recommendation to eat more fat, saying the report cherry-picked evidence.

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Dr Aseem Malhotra, a senior adviser to the National Obesity Forum, said: "The change in dietary advice to promote low fat foods is perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history.

"We must urgently change the message to the public to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes. Eat fat to get slim, don't fear fat, fat is your friend."

Dr Tedstone responded by saying: "In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible."

She said thousands of scientific studies were considered as part of the official guidance adopted throughout the UK, whereas the National Obesity Forum quoted just 43 studies, some of which were comment pieces.

She added: "It's a risk to the nation's health when potentially influential voices suggest people should eat a high fat diet, especially saturated fat. Too much saturated fat in the diet increases the risk of raised cholesterol, a route to heart disease and possible death."

The report argues:

-         Eating fat does not make you fat

-         Saturated fat does not cause heart disease and full-fat dairy is probably protective

-         Processed foods labelled "low fat", "lite", "low cholesterol" or "proven to lower cholesterol" should be avoided

-         Starchy and refined carbohydrates should be limited to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes

-         Optimum sugar consumption for health is zero

-         Industrial vegetable oils should be avoided

-         People should stop counting calories

-         You cannot outrun a bad diet

-         Snacking will make you fat

Evidence-based nutrition should be incorporated into education curricula for all healthcare professionals

The report also said humans had evolved to be a "healthy well-nourished species with a long life expectancy", but this had gone wrong in the past 30 years.

It said there was too much focus on calories when "it is highly irrelevant how many calories a portion of food on a plate contains" and it was "untrue" that excessive calories caused obesity.