Campbell, D. The Observer. Published online: 28 May 2016
Members of campaign group to disown controversial guidelines to eat fats and cut down on carbohydrates
Britain’s leading anti-obesity campaign group is in turmoil after its controversial new dietary advice provoked serious infighting and threats by leading doctors to shun it over its “misleading” views.
Privately, the National Obesity Forum (NOF) is in disarray over recommendations last week that people should eat more fat, reduce carbohydrates and stop counting calories.
The influential group is facing a growing backlash from a range of eminent experts on food and obesity, who fear its new guidelines will deepen public confusion over what to eat, set back the fight against expanding waistlines, and even be dangerous to those with type 2 diabetes.
Internal NOF emails seen by the Observer reveal anger among board members that none of them was given the chance to approve the incendiary report before publication, except its chair, Dr David Haslam, who co-wrote it with Dr Aseem Malhotra, an outspoken heart doctor who is the NOF’s cardiological adviser, and others, including Robert Lustig, an American expert on sugar. Haslam, a GP, told them on 12 May that he would seek their advice before publishing but did not do so, it is claimed. The group plans to issue a statement this week disowning the findings, which will leave Haslam facing serious questions.
The NOF’s new advice challenged established thinking by advising that eating fatty foods such as meat, and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt, while avoiding low-fat products, would benefit health.
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