SIRC – Media Watch 03-06-99
Fad diets and fat reduction
Professor Garrow, head of anti-obesity task force set up by the British Nutrition Foundation suggested that high profile fad diets were effecting physicians' ability to attack weight problems. His concerns are that gimmick diets are attractive because they often promise instant results but are actually problematic because they fail to offer sustainable solutions for long-term weight loss. Presumably these sustainable solutions involve the reduction of cholesterol but if we are to believe the research of Professor Suarez of Duke University, North Carolina, this may not altogether be a good thing. Reported in the Telegraph, his study has identified a link between low levels of cholesterol in young women and depression. A previous study that focused on older men also reached a similar conclusion. In a week in which the Guardian reports suggested that cholesterol has surpassed smoking as the number one danger to our nation's health, Professor Suarez is quick to warn us against rushing out and gorging ourselves on a fry-up: "While we certainly don't advocate that women indulge in high-fat foods, our data do suggest that women with naturally low cholesterol could benefit from raising their cholesterol through healthy dietary measures, like consuming more fish or fish oil."