The below article, written by Sue Dunlevy – National Health Correspondent for the News Corps Australia Network, is about sugar which initiated a variety of responses (Reader Replies to, What’s the Real Secret to Weight Loss).
Three things I note from the article:
- Moderation: noted in the reader replies; and
- Physical Activity: not mentioned at all (research suggests that physical activity is just as important as, or possibly more important than, exercise).
- Carbohydrates: the difference between simple and complex is not sufficiently highlighted.
Affects all … up to 40 per cent of those with a normal weight can even have their health adversely affected by the high carbohydrate [i.e. sugar] diet common in modern societies.
Excess sugar and carbohydrates — and not a lack of exercise — are behind the surge in obesity and diabetes, with even those of normal weight now at risk, experts argue.
We should be eating fat and protein to cut our risk of diabetes and other health problems a group of experts including a South African cardiologist, sports scientist and a physician say.
Sickly sweet: 6 teaspoons the max for sugar
The advocates of the low carb diet who make their case in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine today are the same experts who appeared on a controversial ABC Catalyst programme on extreme low carbohydrate diets in November last year.
Sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes and physician and author of the New Atkins diet Dr Steve Phinney accuse the carbohydrate fuelled food industry of using tactics “chillingly similar to those of Big Tobacco,” which deployed denial, doubt, confusion and “bent scientists” to convince the public that smoking was not linked to lung cancer.
“Recent research indicates that cutting down on dietary carbohydrate is the single most effective approach for reducing all of the features of the metabolic syndrome and should be the primary strategy for treating diabetes, with benefits occurring even in the absence of weight loss,” the researchers say.
The prevalence of diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed daily, compared with the equivalent amount of calories consumed as fat, they say in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine published online today.
The editorial says up to 40 per cent of those with a normal weight can even have their health adversely affected by the high carbohydrate diet common in modern societies.
A high sugar, high carbohydrate diet puts them at risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease and heart disease even though they are not overweight, the experts claim.
The low carb, high fat diet promoted by the experts forces the body to burn fat as an energy source rather than glucose generated by breaking down carbohydrates. This fat burning process is called ketosis.
But those who have tried it claim the first few weeks can cause bouts of flu like symptoms, lethargy and shaking during exercise.
Public health messages that encouraged people to maintain a healthy weight through calorie counting ignored evidence that it’s the source of the calories that matters, the experts say.
“Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation,” they write The scientists claim the food pyramid that underpins dietary guidelines should be inverted and instead of eating carbohydrates like bread, cereals and fruit we should eat more T
The current National Health and Medical Research Council dietary guidelines issued in 2013 recommend 30 per cent of a healthy diet should be made up of carbohydrates like bread, wholegrains and legumes, a further 10 per cent of the diet should be made up of fruit and that fats should only be “used in small amounts”.
Dietitian Rosemary Stanton, who helped write the NHMRC national dietary guidelines, says a lower carbohydrate diet is good if people cut out cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals.
These junk foods now make up 35 per cent of our diet, she said.
However, she says we should still eat the carbohydrates in wholegrains and fruit.
Diets high in wholegrains and fruit reduce the risk of bowel cancer and diabetes and you won’t get all the vitamins you need on the low carbohydrate diet, she says.
The extreme low carbohydrate diet recommended by the experts in the journal today fly in the face of recent Sydney University studies in mice which found the secret to a long life was a high carbohydrate diet, even though the diet made the mice fat.
Mice on a high carbohydrate diet lived 30 per cent longer than those on a high protein diet.
Females fed a diet with a protein to carbohydrate ratio of 1 to 11 lived the longest.
Male mice needed a diet with a protein to carbohydrate ratio of one to 13 for a long life.
University of Sydney Professor Le Couteur said the mice in the studies were fed a mix of animal and vegetable protein.
“Animal protein was associated with bad health outcomes, it’s a[s] bad for your health as smoking,” he said.
And the carbohydrates eaten by the mice were not the high sugar, refined carbohydrates that make up the bulk of human diets.
The mice were fed whole grains and complex carbohydrates, he said.
A separate University of Sydney study published in 2014 suggested that a diet that consists of 15-20 per cent high quality protein, low in fat and high in good quality carbohydrate will deliver the best metabolic health and longest life.
Dunlevy, S. (2015) What’s The Real Secret to Weight Loss? Available from World Wide Web: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/lifestyle/health/whats-the-real-secret-to-weight-loss/story-fni0diek-1227316009826?sv=540964948a8c74611d61dbd1e814599b. [Accessed: 23 April, 2015].