I rarely send out press releases, but it’s not every day that you get the chair of the UK National Obesity Forum saying: “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.”
As I prepare this Monday note, the attack on those involved in this document is in full swing. Those “on high”, as Professor David Haslam puts it have moved into both attack and defence mode – attack the authors of this report (often personally) and defend the conventional advice.
The shock story of last week broke on 11th May. The UK GP magazine, Pulse, reported that The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had contacted GPs to tell them that there had been a “bug” in the heart risk calculator software since 2009. Risks had been “miscalculated” and hundreds of thousands of patients may have been put on statins unnecessarily and others may not have been prescribed statins when eligible for them (lucky them!)
Back in 2010 I met with a TV producer who was working on diet programmes. She shared that one of the biggest bafflements in the TV world was why The Biggest Loser was massive as a show in the US, but a complete non-starter in the UK. The show ran on Living TV in the UK in 2005 and 2006. It moved to ITV in 2009 (not even prime time), but didn’t last beyond 2012. The US show, in contrast, started in 2004 and is now in its 17th season. Just the factoids on the Wiki page alone are extraordinary. The fastest 100 lb loss took just 6 weeks!