New diet advice suggests people should stop calorie counting and eat more fats, in a move that has has been slammed by Public Health England as irresponsible.
The National Obesity Forum in conjunction with the Public Health Collaboration has suggested full-fat foods like cheese can protect the heart, in a new report promoting a return to 'whole foods' like meat, fish and dairy.
The 'Eat Fat, Cut the Carbs and Avoid Snacking To Reverse Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes report' also lashed out at Public Health England, suggesting its guidelines were produced "in collaboration with the food industry" and that suggesting people opt for low-fat foods was a bad idea.
Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told Sky News: "As a clinician, treating patients all day every day, I quickly realised that guidelines from on high, suggesting high carbohydrate, low-fat diets were the universal panacea, were deeply flawed.
"Current efforts have failed – the proof being that obesity levels are higher than they have ever been, and show no chance of reducing despite the best efforts of Government and scientists."
However, the report has drawn criticism from the very industry it denigrates, with officials at Public Health England questioning the validity of its claims and slamming the report as 'irresponsible'.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible.
"Unlike this opinion piece, our independent experts review all the available evidence - often thousands of scientific papers – run full-scale consultations and go to great lengths to ensure no bias.
"It is difficult to conduct research linking diet to later health. That is why PHE base its dietary guidelines on comprehensive reviews of the totality of the evidence. Our advice is based on reviews by independent experts whose reports consider all the evidence, are subject to public consultation and which go through agreed processes to ensure objectivity."
The Eatwell Guide from Public Health England recommends balancing meals with foods from different food groups, eating more beans and pulses and choosing lower fat alternatives when consuming dairy products.
The guide also suggests eating little and often and looking out for fat-free foods – something the new reports suggests is bad for the metabolism.