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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NICE is calling for a a ban on Trans-Fats in foods, and further reductions in Salt Content

See BBC News report. As well as a ban on trans-fats and further reduction in added salt, NICE is also pressing for reductions in saturated fat content, but here I part company with NICE.

Many consumers would welcome a ban on trans fats; they have been added to food products to benefit commercial interests, not because of any consumer demand. (See article.) And many consumers would also welcome a ban on adding salt to food products, but there is strong resistance by the food industry to make substantial cuts in the salt levels of their products. This is because the high levels of salt in processed foods have engineered a very strong taste for salt in a large number of their customers. Neither trans fats nor salt were present in other than very small quantities in the diets of our ancestors, stone age men and women, and the nearer our diets approximate today to those of our ancestors, the healthier for us, since it was on their diet that our species evolved and for which it is best suited.

But saturated fats are a different matter entirely. The hunter-gatherers ate saturated fat and our bodies evolved on it. Modern research studies indicate that saturated fats are not causing heart disease. It is a great pity that the people advising us to eat less saturated fat are not reading the up-to-date research findings on this matter. We do not need to cut down on saturated fats; they are good for us. See Dr Briffa's blogpost about this.