Poor diet responsible for more disease than lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol combined, say doctors
Doctors have blamed excess sugar and carbohydrates for the surge in obesity – not the lack of exercise.
They said poor diet was now recognised as being responsible for more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.
Yet, said the experts led by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, the public wrongly believed that obesity was due to a sedentary lifestyle.
The doctors claimed that obesity has rocketed in the past 30 years, despite little change in physical activity levels.
‘This places the blame for our expanding waistlines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed,’ said Dr Malhotra.
‘Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet.’
In the British Journal Of Sports Medicine, the doctors added that the ‘false perception’ on the cause of obesity stems from corporate marketing ‘chillingly similar’ to that used by the tobacco industry.
They cited Coca-Cola associating its products with sport ‘suggesting it is OK to consume their drinks as long as you exercise’.
Dr Malhotra, who works at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, is an adviser to the campaign group Action on Sugar. Around two-thirds of Britons are overweight or obese.
The Government’s obesity adviser Professor Susan Jebb said the doctors failed to note that the best way to lose weight was combining a better diet with physical activity.
‘Rather than trade one off against the other – sugar vs fat, diet vs activity, individual vs population – we need to take action across the full range,’ she added.
Tackling obesity without addressing physical activity was ‘tying one hand behind our backs’ said the professor. ‘It makes good sense to seek to change both diet and activity behaviours.’