The fat and the lean of it

Published: September 07, 2018 21:34:15 | Updated: September 08, 2018 21:12:24


In the space of less than a year, scientific studies published in the prestigious Lancet have on one hand creamed the concept of fatty food and then, on the other, sugared it up. One suggests fatty diets reduce life expectancy and disease; the other suggests the opposite. Sugar as in the sweet stuff continues to be on the black list of no nos. The UK realised £3.0 million in the first month of the introduction of the sin tax and scientists stand by their view. So much so that Cadbury's is to launch a chocolate with 30 per cent reduced sugar. There has been divided opinion about fats, specifically saturated and unsaturated fats. The two studies created headlines strong enough to baulk the staunchest supporter but at the end of the day consensus is about moderation.

Given that was how nature had intended everything in life, what's new? The breakthrough results that suggested five servings of fruit a day has been pared back to three and one begins to wonder where these researches are coming from and where they're heading. The latest research added three years to western life expectancy with a moderated diet and a three year reduction to the median for high-fat diet. There was consensus on fried food and packaged foods with preservatives and another call to return to good old home cooking.

Japanese and Korean citizens maintaining their traditional raw or steamed food have proved to have longer life expectancy. The impact of the western-style food sought out by the new generation is yet to be solidly researched but preliminary indicators are not positive. English nutritionists provide simpler solutions that range from 35 per cent fats obtained naturally from food and a generous mix of colourful vegetables that retain colour after cooking-meaning less or no oil and steamed at best. But English and US nutritionists disagree on what kind of starchy carbohydrates are actually more beneficial. Bread, pasta and sweet potatoes are the English recommendation. The American version swings more to starchy vegetables. Now that the debate over butter and margerine is over, the latter is still available on shop shelves. Thankfully, eggs have made a re-entry as a food of choice after the cholesterol ills were outweighed by the Omega 3 benefits.

Advertising of carbonated drinks is being banned in some US States while their viewing in the UK, including sugary drinks, will be limited to post-peak hours. No researcher is supportive of these drinks and the universal recommendation is fresh fruit or fresh fruit juice with no added sugar. These moves to tackle a 4.0 per cent of the young population suffering from diversity. The growth from 2.5 per cent to this number is advance warning of increased health risks though carbonated drinks consumption continue to grow in the sub-continent and especially Bangladesh. It leaves the baby-boomer generation to wonder whether they missed out on longer life expectancy because science wavered 180 degrees.

mahmudrahman@gmail.com

 

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