obesity fat bench unhealthy

Last century’s food demons - fat, cholesterol and salt - are being rehabilitated. The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (its recommendations will underpin the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) wants to drop cholesterol from its ‘nutrients of concern list’.

The DGAC also wants to “de-emphasize” satfat. Based on its review of the scientific literature, the committee could not ignore the glaring lack of evidence connecting the dietician’s antichrist with cardiovascular disease.

”Let’s dump the nonsensical notion Mother Nature is a psychopath”

- Joanna Blythman

This dietetic revisionism has been applauded by the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, it also wants the DGAC to unpick the previously sacred gospel on salt: ‘There is a distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus on making a single sodium consumption recommendation for all Americans, owing to a growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals.’

Yes, you read correctly. The evidence suggests low, not high salt, is bad for you. And - is this beginning to sound familiar? - the Academy concludes ‘the evidence is strongest that a reduction in the intake of added sugars will improve the health of the American public’.

So the US enlightenment mounts a challenge to the carb-pushing, and therefore sugar-pushing, to our ineffectual public health industry on this side of the pond. But will it sit up and take note? Is it prepared to smash its fatuous Eatwell Plate, rip up its infantile traffic lights, and envision another?

We need to rewrite official healthy eating advice. Dumping the nonsensical notion Mother Nature is a psychopath who created errant nutrients to shorten the lifespan of the human race is a place to start. Breast milk is full of cholesterol. Degraded, over-processed oils in junk food are a menace, but not the natural ones in olive oil and butter. Can we have some common sense?

Or what about a nutritional Truth and Reconciliation Summit, where public health professionals acknowledge, in a no-acrimony atmosphere, that for all the best intentions, they have misled us?

Joanna Blythman is a journalist and the author of Swallow This