Government health warnings about eating too much fat are not based on any science and are misleading the public, say leading academics this week.
Instead, health officials should be distinguishing between healthy and harmful foods rather than their fat content. Foods that are rich in health-giving fats-such as nuts, vegetables oils and fish-should be encouraged, while low-fat foods are harmful, and certainly worse for us than their full-fat equivalents.
The pronouncement is aimed at officials who are preparing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is due to be published later this year.
Dariush Mozaffarian, dean at Tufts University and David Ludwig of Boston Children's Hospital, said: "Placing limits on total fat intake has no basis in science and leads to all sorts of wrong industry and consumer decisions".
Ever since the Dietary Guidance shifted the focus to low-fat foods, people have been buying products that contain trans fats, and are made with sugars and refined grains.
"Foods rich in added sugars, starches and refined grains like white bread, white rice, chips, crackers and bakery desserts still account for most of the calories people eat."
(Source: JAMA, 2015; doi: 101001/jama.2015.5941)