Cape Town - 150219 . Prof Tim Noakes (in pic) and Karen Thomson, founder of The Sugar Free Revolution Online Program, are hosting The Old Mutual Health Convention with internationally acclaimed doctors and researchers in South Africa from 19-22 February 2015 at the CTICC. Tim Noakes kicked off the event today with the opening address. He is seen here holding up a new book by U.K Dietitian Dr Trudi Deakin, called Eat Fat. reporter: Anel Lewis. Pic : jason boud
Cape Town - 150219 . Prof Tim Noakes (in pic) and Karen Thomson, founder of The Sugar Free Revolution Online Program, are hosting The Old Mutual Health Convention with internationally acclaimed doctors and researchers in South Africa from 19-22 February 2015 at the CTICC. Tim Noakes kicked off the event today with the opening address. He is seen here holding up a new book by U.K Dietitian Dr Trudi Deakin, called Eat Fat. reporter: Anel Lewis. Pic : jason boud

‘Fat is not making us fat, carbs are’

By Ane Lewis Time of article published Feb 20, 2015

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Cape Town – A health convention has heard that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease, and cholesterol is no longer the dietary evil we’ve been taught to avoid.

Thursday’s Old Mutual Health Convention was told that we’ve been following the wrong dietary advice for the past 40 years, and this has directly caused the global obesity epidemic.

“We were wrong, so many of us were wrong,” said British obesity specialist, Zoe Harcombe. “We were carbo loading and we were wrong.”

Harcombe’s research, published this year in the Open Heart journal, suggests that the dietary fat guidelines being used around the world lack scientific evidence.

The guidelines were changed in 1977, first by the US and then the UK, to reduce coronary heart disease by cutting fat intake.

Harcombe’s review of the earlier studies that underpinned these guidelines found that they lacked trial evidence, and the low-fat products that proliferated when the guidelines were changed may have encouraged people to consume more carbohydrates.

The US government is now set to drop official health warnings on cholesterol when the dietary guidelines are reviewed this year. This means that butter and egg yolks, long considered nutritional taboo, will be back on the menu.

Harcombe, who debunked theories about the benefits of including carbohydrates and starches in our diet, was one of several international speakers at Cape Town’s first Low Carb High Fat convention at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“The mainstream dietary advice that we are currently giving to the world has simply not worked. Instead it is the opinion of the speakers at this convention that this is the immediate cause of the global obesity and diabetes epidemics,” said Professor Tim Noakes, of the controversial The Real Meal Revolution.

The convention, which was organised by Karen Thomson, granddaughter of heart surgeon Professor Christiaan Barnard, included 15 authorities on low-carb, high-fat eating from around the world.

Noakes said: “We’ve got a responsibility to our patients to do no harm. If there’s evidence to the contrary, we need to change.”

Peter Bond, chief medical officer of Old Mutual, said South Africa had the highest rates of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa, and ranked third globally. Seven out of 10 women are overweight or obese, while four out of 10 men would be considered obese. Twenty percent of under-18s are overweight or obese.

“These are alarming statistics and it’s getting worse and worse. Obesity is relentless in SA,” he said.

Gary Taubes, an American science writer and co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, said despite the dietary advice given for the past 40 years, the prevalence of diabetes was increasing.

“Fat is not making us fat. It’s vegetable oil, shortening, margarine and excess carbohydrates and sugar,” said Christine Cronau, an Australian dietician.

The convention continues until Sunday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

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Cape Argus

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