Fat, not sugar, to blame for UK's obesity epidemic warn scientists

18 July 2016

Sugar has been replaced by fat as being seen as the real culprit behind the obesity epidemic in the UK, even as the government plans a tax on sugary drinks to curb the problem.

However, according to new research, the blame may not lie with sugar after all.

A study of over 132,000 people across the UK by experts at Glasgow University found that sugar actually contributed very little to expanding waistlines.

The study showed that fat was responsible for obese and overweight adults' expanding waistlines, not sugar.

In fact, it made up a smaller part of the diet for many fat people than it did for skinnier ones.

Scientists behind the research which was not funded by the sugar industry warned that public health campaigns blaming sugar for the UK's weight crisis could be dangerously misguided.

They feared it was giving the impression that it was fine to eat fat as sugar was the real villain.

Last night professor Jill Pell, who led the research at the university's Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said, "The critical message is people need to reduce their overall calories.

If focusing attention on sugar results in them compensating by eating more crisps, then we will fail to combat obesity."

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity worldwide had more than doubled since 1980.

In 2014, over 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight, 600 million of which were obese, which meant 39 per cent of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13 per cent were obese.

Furthermore, 42 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese in 2013.  According to the summary of the fact sheet available on the WHO website, obesity was preventable.

According to commentators, such statistics were extremely worrisome and obesity needed to be considered as a global emergency.

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