May 25, 2016

A media furore has erupted this week in both the UK and Australia over dietary guidelines. The new Public Health Collaboration (PHC), based in the UK and made up of an international panel of dietary experts, has blasted their government’s guidelines, saying they are plain wrong and have misled the public. The government struck back saying that the PHC cherry picked studies from which to quote.

Before we go any further, the current dietary guidelines for the general population recommends a diet which is higher carbohydrate, moderate protein and low fat. The PHC recommends a diet which is higher fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate.

In some ways, both population-wide approaches are correct. Both recommend limiting (or eliminating) sugar, and eating lots of non-starchy vegetables. Both recommend eating some protein and some fat. While both agree on some fats, the biggest disagreement is over other fats.

Experts who support existing guidelines recommend that saturated fat is dangerous for heart disease and should be limited. Experts from the PHC say that saturated fat is not dangerous, and in fact can be beneficial and it occurs naturally in unprocessed foods such as meat, eggs, nuts, and dairy foods.

Both groups of experts claim that their stance is based on science, with multiple research papers confirming their beliefs. When expert opinion is divided, who do you believe?

The existing guidelines suggest that following a low-fat diet is effective for weight loss, and that calorie control is essential. While that may work for some, since being introduced obesity rates have risen dramatically. Many people attempting to follow the guidelines end up hungry, cranky, and must rely on will power to continue.

Those following a dietary pattern as recommended by the Public Health Corporation find that hunger is not a problem and that it’s easier to follow. It still requires some will power in the early stages – as does any behaviour which requires habit change – but when hunger is not an issue it’s far easier.

The good news is that if losing weight is a goal, Healthy Inspirations knows that one diet does not suit all and offers the choice. The Great Shape program is based on the low-fat model where calories are controlled – but you don’t need to count them. The Reset program starts with a low carbohydrate intake which gradually increases, helping the individual to discover their own carbohydrate tolerance.

To learn more and find out which one is best for you, call or drop in to your nearest centre.