The fat spat has been a long time coming; it was always going to become a media football at some point. After sugar, which has been a success for the progressive reformers, the pro-fat fight has been looming for a while.
It is a necessary debate too. 9% of the NHS budget is still being spent on diet-related chronic diseases, so we are definitely doing something wrong. All that the National Obesity Forum has said is good advice and we are moving in the right direction. However, the most important words their report mentioned were “whole foods” and non-processed “meat, fish and dairy”, which are two phrases that have been completely lost in the media.
Tesco’s finest pork sausages are not whole foods. Nor is a Danone yogurt. Nor are fish fingers. Yes, they do contain the good fats being debated, but like the doctored low-fat products that are rightly being trashed, they come with so much other crap that they are actually deeply unhealthy. This is not just a binary argument about how fat was once our enemy and is now our friend. The NAF’s report shines a light on many more dietary issues that we are overlooking as a society.
The fat debate may not make a massive change to public opinion on healthy food in itself, but it will speed up the journey towards food activism for millions of people, and double the interest in genuinely healthy food, so we must applaud it.