GP obesity expert defends advice to 'eat fat to get thin'

A GP obesity expert has urged the profession not to dismiss controversial advice that obese patients should eat a 'low-carb diet high in healthy fats'.

Avocado: among items high in 'healthy fats' (Photo: iStock)
Avocado: among items high in 'healthy fats' (Photo: iStock)

National Obesity Forum (NOF) medical director Professor David Haslam - a GPSI in obesity - said the forum's recently published advice to ‘eat fat to get thin’, should be passed on by GPs to their overweight patients.

A report from the NOF and the Public Health Collaboration - a not-for-profit group that promotes health lifestyles - criticised many years of government advice to the general public to eat a low fat diet and to lower their cholesterol levels.

Professor Haslam said rapidly rising obesity levels showed that the government’s approach had failed, and that it had led to a higher intake of junk food and carbohydrates.

He said people should avoid products labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘low cholesterol’, and instead should eat ‘whole foods’ such as meat, fish and dairy, as well as high-fat healthy foods like avocados.

Healthy lifestyle advice

Public Health England described the advice from the NOF and the Public Health Collaboration as ‘irresponsible and misleading’. It reiterated its own advice that the public should base their meals on starchy carbohydrates.

Professor Haslam said: ‘Because obesity is at the root of so many illnesses, like heart disease and sleep apnoea, it is something that needs to be treated more vigorously.

‘I think that as GPs our patients should be given the chance to eat a low-carb diet that is high in healthy fats.

‘Conflicting advice is better than the wrong advice, and I think the latest Eatwell advice is deeply flawed.

‘I’ve had dramatic success as a clinician with this low-carb diet and I suggest to my patients that they try a strict no-carbs diet for six weeks and then see how they feel and let them make their own grown-up decision on what to do after that.’

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