UK charity comes out with LCHF Real Food Guidelines

A British charity called the National Obesity Forum, in association with the Public Health Coalition, is in the news today for attacking the low-fat dietary guidelines and food industry manipulation of science (in the UK known as the Eatwell Guide), and suggesting a way out of our growing public health crisis in this document. The Public Health Coalition earlier came out with LCHF guidelines for the prevention and control of obesity and diabetes, and with real food, healthy fat guidelines for the rest of the population. You can download this document, Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice For The United Kingdom, here.

They’ve even created some cool graphics to counter Public Health England’s dire grain-based Eatwell Guide:


The National Obesity Forum/Public Health Collaboration report has had excellent coverage in the UK media, their recommendations are in all the major newspapers, news websites, and TV news programs.

This has stirred up the usual backlash from experts, many from the UK organizations that have sweetheart deals with the food industry.

For example,

Dr Tedstone of Public Health England responded to the publication by saying: “In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible.”

She said thousands of scientific studies were considered as part of the official guidance adopted throughout the UK, whereas the National Obesity Forum quoted just 43 studies, some of which were comment pieces.

She added: “It’s a risk to the nation’s health when potentially influential voices suggest people should eat a high fat diet, especially saturated fat. Too much saturated fat in the diet increases the risk of raised cholesterol, a route to heart disease and possible death.”

You get the picture. Let’s all get lost in the “totality of the evidence” and leave things as they are, with the Food Industry in charge of our diets in a token partnership with these expert bodies it sponsors.

So who are these irresponsible people at the Public Health Collaboration? They include GP David Unwin, who has published several papers about the effectiveness of LCHF in treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in his Southport practice. Dr Unwin’s practice has been reported as saving £45,000 per year on drugs for type 2 diabetes compared to the average in his area. (If you want a guide as to how to introduce the LCHF diet into clinical practice in an affordable, practical way, we recommend Dr Unwin’s work)
The PHC also includes cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, who promotes a low carb, high-fat Mediterranean diet as an effective way of managing coronary heart disease, plus a dietitian, a diabetologist and several more GPs. Of particular interest is the presence of a psychiatrist and psychologist, showing a holistic understanding of the importance of not only finding solutions, but motivating and helping people as individuals.


All these people have considerable experience between them, often working in deprived areas and with seriously ill patients; they are reporting back from the front lines in the war on diabesity and the health problems caused by poor nutrition, and it would be foolish not to take them seriously just because they have produced a short, readable document.

The PHC’s Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice For The United Kingdom joins the ranks of Real Food Guidelines globally – including our own Real Food Guidelines from 2014, as well as the Brazilian dietary guidelines and the Canadian Government report on obesity.

It’s the Real Food Revolution and it’s not going to be won in a day, but when you get a group of well-qualified people leading by example and ignoring the nay-sayers to show that the LCHF approach works, as the members of the PHC are doing in Britain, it’s no longer just a battle of words. The public are impressed by results, rather than by hearing opinions, or by reading thousands of peer-reviewed papers. Which we still do, because reading peer-reviewed papers is necessary, useful, and often rewarding, but by golly it’s nice to see people helped by LCHF to a better life on TV, as in the recent Aussie TV show The Saving Australia Diet.

13 thoughts on “UK charity comes out with LCHF Real Food Guidelines”

  1. This story also posted today on the diabetes forum . They have been promoting practical advice on diets for a while now, including low carb. Of their 200,000 forum members 125,000 report that they are on a low carb diet, many with impressive results.

    Dave Hoskins

      1. They certainly are. Perhaps the first to properly show the “sliding scale” of carbohydrate density and fat calories needed to adjust for carbohydrate tolerance, in pictorial menu form. And everything on it is edible.

  2. It was a sad day for the British yesterday, to have such a great piece of communication be rubished by people who give themselves titles that imply they protect us… It was shocking. Thanks for sharing the links, especially to Zoe’s page. I think that should be added to every news article that included references to their response to the obesity forum’s article,
    Matthew, Protector of th British (I’m sure that must make my comments more important)

  3. Obesity is unknown among more than 3 billion people who currently live on grain-based diets and the billions more who have done so in the past.

    All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout written human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of thriving people include, Japanese and Chinese in Asia eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice, Incas in South America eating potatoes, Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn, and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat.
    To classify all carbohydrates as the same is retarded.
    You never see an obese person sitting down to eat a whole bowl of red rice, sweet potatoes or corn, etc.

    Over the past century there has been an escalating trend in Western societies of people abandoning starchy plant-foods for refined carbohydrate, low-carbohydrate, meat and dairy foods. A worldwide epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has followed this dietary change.

    Saturated fat causes a progressive decline of beta cell function leading to beta cell exhaustion precedes beta cell demise.
    With persistent hyperglycemia, increased saturated FFA induce a glucolipotoxic state that is detrimental to beta cells by increasing oxidative stress, subsequently reducing insulin synthesis and secretion thereby compromising both beta cell structure and function.
    Animal products are high in saturated fat and vegans have the lowest diabetes rates.
    While consuming the most carbohydrates out of all groups.

    Therefor ones body cannot tolerate carbohydrates and even more so refined carbohydrates hence a high fat low carb diet works(but is not the answer because you can’t tolerate carbohydrates when you should be able to) but to say unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrate foods are causing health problems is retarded. If you do the research you find animal products are associated with diabetes and unrefined carbohydrates are protective. The answer isn’t high fat low carb. Its the source of your food.

    1. I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that. For a start, the level of saturated fat in the body (as opposed to the diet) is controlled by the insulin response to carbohydrate. People who eat more dairy fat, which is highly saturated, have less diabetes than those who avoid it. Traditional starch-eating populations that cook with highly saturated palm oil and eat what animal foods they can have very low levels of diabetes. The vegetarian populations of India experienced a rise in diabetes when they replaced highly saturated ghee with polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
      Furthermore, it is all very well to say that such traditional populations don’t experience obesity and diabetes eating traditional foods.
      What happens when they are living in the UK or NZ and do experience these diseases? They barely have access to their traditional foods, rich in unrefined starch and cholesterol, any more. Is replacing them with the foods on the Eatwell guide the answer? Will a vegan get diabetes if they use coconut oil? What will happen if they are vegan because they eat pizza, fries, and burgers without the meat and cheese, as many do? Isn’t “vegans” a self-selected group which people opt out of at will, at a fairly high rate, making prospective epidemiology a tricky business?
      No-one says unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrate foods are causing health problems, other than the increasingly common celiac spectrum disorders; but what happens when you already have health problems? Might a starchy vegetable diet work? Possibly, if you can tolerate it, identify a safe version of it, and work your way around the deficiencies. For healthy people, you’ll actually find plenty of starchy unrefined veges, legumes, and grains replacing refined carbs in the UKPHC eating guidelines. You’ll also find that the recommended minimum fat intake is very low; as a minimum, it is only set at a level to prevent deficiency.

      1. The predominant fat in olives, nuts, and avocados gives you a tiny bump in death protein 5, but saturated fat really ramps up this contributor to beta cell death. Saturated fats are harmful to beta cells; harmful to the insulin-producing cells in our pancreas.

        Cholesterol too. The uptake of bad cholesterol, LDL, can cause beta cell death as a result of free radical formation.

        If you infuse fat into people’s bloodstream you can directly impair pancreatic beta cell function, and the same when we ingest it.
        Researchers showed saturated fat ingestion reduces insulin sensitivity within hours, but these were non-diabetics, so their pancreas should have been able to boost insulin secretion to match. But insulin secretion failed to compensate for insulin resistance in subjects who ingested the saturated fat. This implies the saturated fat impaired beta cell function as well, again within just hours after going into our mouth.

        Saturated fat has been found to be particularly toxic to liver cells in the formation of fatty liver disease. You expose human liver cells to plant fat, and nothing happens. Expose liver cells to animal fat, and a third of them die.

        This may explain why higher intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol are associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

        By cutting down on saturated fat consumption we may be able to help interrupt this process. Decreasing saturated fat intake may help bring down the need for all that excess insulin. So either being fat, or eating saturated fat can both cause that excess insulin in the blood. The effect of reducing dietary saturated fat intake on insulin levels is substantial, regardless of how much belly fat we have.

        And it’s not just that by eating fat we may be more likely to store it as fat. Saturated fats, independently of any role they have of making us fat, may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and all its clinical consequences.

        After controlling for weight, and alcohol, and smoking, and exercise, and family history, diabetes incidence was significantly associated with the proportion of saturated fat in our blood.

        Now just like everyone who smokes doesn’t develop lung cancer; everyone who eats a lot of saturated fat doesn’t develop diabetes, there’s a genetic component.

        I don’t advocate using oils. Food is a unit designed to work in the body as a whole. Oil is processed out of the food which doesn’t magically make it good for you. They impair endothelial and artery function, activates coagulation factor VII, cause lipaemia and intramyocellular lipids, displace omega 3/6 ratio etc The same with butter.

        “Furthermore, it is all very well to say that such traditional populations don’t experience obesity and diabetes eating traditional foods. What happens when they are living in the UK or NZ and do experience these diseases? They barely have access to their traditional foods”
        I don’t see your point. I was saying we should adopt their non processed starchy diets as obesity was unknown and has been for centuries. Only since abandoning starchy plant-foods left in their natural form that were our staple all through out history do we see epidemics.
        ?? You can buy all their traditional grains in NZ
        You can call yourself a vegan and live on sweets, chips and beer. Simply being vegan doesn’t give you health benefits if you eat unhealthy foods.

        The UKPHC eating guidelines promote a lot of meat and eggs both which are associated with diabetes. I diet high in animal products is also associated with IBD.

        Gestational diabetes associated with animal fat, cholesterol, egg, meat and heme iron intake.
        Fruit and whole grains lower risk of diabetes
        Pulses lower risk of diabetes

      2. You are completely wrong about fatty liver disease. Saturated fats prevent this in animals

        and in humans
        Maciejewska D, Ossowski P, Drozd A, et al. Metabolites of arachidonic acid and linoleic acid in early stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – A pilot study. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2015 Sep;121(Pt B):184-9.

        Unwin DJ, Cuthbertson DJ, Feinman R, Sprung VS (2015) A pilot study to explore the role of a low-carbohydrate intervention to improve GGT levels and HbA1c. Diabesity in Practice 4: 102–8.

        The same is true of alcoholic liver disease

        The important thing is to restrict PUFA, and, in the case of NAFLD, sugar.

        Most of the research you cite on saturated fat involves a diet that is also too high in polyunsaturated fat.

        That pulses are associated with a decrease in diabetes is not surprising, as pulses are lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fibre compared to grains and potatoes, and also have a good omega 3/6 balance. Fruit is associated with lower diabetes incidence (than what?) for similar reasons – however, zucchini, tomato, olive, and avocado are fruits that LCHF dieters eat every day.

        You will find animal foods associated with disease for a good reason – animal foods are high in protein, a very desirable nutrient, so are used by poor people to make up the deficits left by a diet otherwise based around refined carbohydrates and oils. However all meat diets are a pretty reliable cure for IBD, so the notion that meat causes this disease is risible. Lactose in milk is one animal product that can cause IBD.

      3. Thanks for the third reference

        PUFA ingestion resulted in an absolute reduction in insulin secretion and SFA ingestion induced insulin resistance. Failure of insulin secretion to compensate for insulin resistance implies impaired beta cell function in the SFA study.

        You don’t want that high-PUFA effect if you’re eating carbohydrate. If insulin secretion does compensate for IR, you have hyperinsulinaemia. But people don’t eat pure PUFA, MUFA, or SFA. The PHCUK guideline is basically a mix of MUFA and SFA, of olive oil and butter, which is about ideal as is mimics the composition of healthy body fat, the default fuel. Pork, chicken, eggs are full of MUFA and beef and lamb actually have quite a bit.

        But supposing we take that sort of lab work to heart, and tell a population that eats a lot of dairy fat to reduce their diabetes risk by limiting saturated fat, eating fish, eating more fruit and vege, limit sugar, and eat more fibre.
        What actually happens? This advice doesn’t work, and the limiting of SFA is the main reason why.–3

        Interestingly palm oil used in that study is the richest source of palmitic acid, the “bad” saturated fat. A vegetable food, it’s very low in the “good” saturated fat, stearic acid, compared to say beef dripping.
        Compared to beef tallow, palm oil has 2x the palmitic acid, 1/3 the stearic acid, and 2/3 the oleic acid.

  4. New Scientist has a truly excellent report of this debate in its latest issue.

    The NOF report above (not the PHCuk guidelines) was in some respects ridiculous, overstated, and indiscreet.
    Yet it’s exactly those qualities that ensured enough coverage and outrage to start the change in the mainstream.
    When you think about it, revolutions are always tipped by some firebrand loon rushing at the palace. No matter how much care has gone into preparing them, you really need that guy if you expect things to change.

  5. I am a recovering diabetic and this came about by using HFLC diet.
    I would like to raise money for a charity who promote this HFLC diet. I can see this diet would help many groups not just diabetic. Which in the long term would help reduce the burden on the NHS. With the correct information, we could stop this epidemic in its tracts.
    If you could put me in touch with a charity who support HFLC diets I would be most appreciative.

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