In the Daily Telegraph this week Dr Shyam Kolvekar said that, “he is “increasingly concerned” about the nation’s eating habits as he is seeing patients as young as 30 in need of heart bypass surgery due to a diet “overloaded” with saturated fat”. I would agree that this is a terrible and completely avoidable situation.
The Telegraph went on to say, According to a national diet survey, nine out of 10 of children, 88 per cent of men and 83 per cent of women in Britain eat too much saturated fat, consuming a fifth too much each day.
It is estimated that by reducing saturated fat intake in line with government recommendations could prevent at least 3,500 deaths per year.
Experts say that over time a diet too high in saturated fats can lead to raised blood cholesterol and a build up of fatty deposits in the arteries that supply the heart.
This increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 198,000 deaths a year and costs the economy £7.9 billion a year.
Dr Kolvekar, at University College London Hospital, said: “The amount of children who eat too much saturated fat really is astonishing”.
“It’s because most kids start the day with some toast and butter, it’s a staple of breakfast, but not very good for you. Porridge is a much better alternative, much better than sausage and eggs which are also high in fat.
“For some people it’s genetic but for most it’s just their lifestyle choices. The three main factors are diet, smoking and exercise.
“By adjusting your diet by replacing butter with a healthy spread or margarine is a very simple thing to do and makes a whole world of difference.”
He went on: “In reality people don’t stick to complicated diets”.
“By banning butter and replacing it with a healthy spread the average daily fat intake would be reduced by 8g – that’s 40 per cent of a women’s GDA – Guideline Daily Amount. The GDA for a woman is 20g and for a man it’s 30g.
“People should also avoid any foods that are solid at room temperature like cheese and red meat. And if you can’t survive without red meat then make sure you cut all the fat off it.
“This would save thousands of lives each year and help to protect them from cardiovascular disease – theUK’s biggest killer.
“By the time I see people it’s usually too late, but the frustrating thing is that often the need for heart surgery could have been prevented by following a healthier, lower sat fat diet.
“Simple food swaps can make a big difference.”
Whilst I am sure that Dr. Kolvekar means well, I’m afraid his information is inaccurate and his recommendations are more likely to cause more heart disease and ill-health. It may not be his fault. I am sure he believes his information to be correct. However, Doctors receive very little training in nutrition if any.
In addition, university degrees are often supported by food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies who provide the universities with funding and only report research that will support their profits and often manipulate research findings to maximise their bottom line.
So, should we ban butter?
Tune in next time when I will compare the contents of butter to butter substitutes. I may just surprise you!