So today I was watching BBC Breakfast before taking my son to school and I happened upon a news item about dietary fat and whether it effects obesity levels and the rate at which people have suffer strokes and cardio vascular disease in the UK.

This meeting was brought about due to a new report from the National Obesity Forum stating that fat does not make us fat and that an increase in dietary fat would reduce rates of type 2 diabetes.

Sat next to each other on the red BBC couch were Professor Simon Capewell from the UK Faculty of UK Health and a Dietitian by the name of Trudi Deakin who was speaking on behalf of the National Obesity forum. Judging from the body language it was evident that there wouldn’t be meeting of minds over the issue. Indeed while there was some agreement over the basics of what a heathy diet should look like, there was a massive disagreement over the main issue and that is the amount and what type of fat we should eat.

Prof. Capwell was very much on the side of the established Government advice about cutting as much saturated fat out of the diet as possible and opting for the low fat option. He did say that the inclusion of healthy fats like those found in olive oil (mono unsaturated) and fish omega 3 fats (polyunsaturated) was good. He stuck primarily to advice that diets should be structured around the eatwell plate. Which in more forward thinking circles is thought to be a bit heavy on the grains/carbohydrate side.


eatwell plate fat

On the other hand, Trudi Deakin went on to say that saturated fat wasn’t bad for you and that there was no causation between diets high in saturated fat and the risk of strokes and heart disease and that it would lower rates of type 2 diabetes in the UK. She believed that carbohydrates were to blame and that to lower our intake would reduce levels of insulin in our bodies causing less storage of fat.

If two evidently educated and experienced professionals cannot agree over what levels of fat and even if we should eat fat cannot agree, what does this say about the rest of us who have to wade through all the confusing bulls##t that both sides of the argument pump out into the media.

As a health coach, people look to me for advice and I want to make sure that I can guide them to the best of my ability but sometimes this is hard with all the conflicting advice out there.

My opinion on the exchange that took place is that everything said was intended to sensationalise the topic and create some sort of soundbite. I don’t think that either was allowed to put a proper argument across without being interrupted by the interviewer or the other guest. I don’t think that this is helpful for the people watching.

I don’t think that anyone watching was any better informed after the interview than they were before it. That can’t be right, can it?

I was once told to “keep it simple, stupid” and this is perfect for this. Keep your food choices simple, from simple unaltered food sources and you can’t go too far wrong.

The advice I give is very simple and it is this:

  • Fats do not make you fat, in fact your brain, cells and nerves are made up of fats so they are essential. So don’t avoid omega 3, coconut oils, olive oil, nuts, red meat or avocado. The ones to watch out for are the trans fats/hydrogenated such as the ones you find in cakes, biscuits and takeaway. They will do you long term damage.
  • Try to avoid low fat or reduced fat alternatives as the fat removed is normally replaced with refined sugar
  • Limit the amount of sugar you have in your diet
  • Ensure that the food you eat is healthy, single ingredient food
  • Get as much of your carbohydrates from vegetables and low starch sources
  • Eat protein with every meal as this will not only make you feel fuller, protein is essential to repair and increase your muscle mass
  • Avoid alcohol as not only does it lead to fat storage it can lead to awful food choices
  • Sleep is vital and often overlooked
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch as this stressor also impacts your ability to get to sleep
  • Plan your meals in advance stopping those terrible food choices when you are in a rush or tired after a long day at work
  • Don’t eat for a couple of hours before you go to bed. This allows the body to finish digestion before you go to sleep and allows production of human growth hormone which is essential for recovery which you are catching some ZZzzzzz.

I was once told to “keep it simple, stupid” and this is perfect for this. Keep your food choices simple, from simple unaltered food sources and you can’t go too far wrong.




This article was first published on www.fitboxcompany.co.uk in May 2016


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